Towards Cross-Border Innovation Spaces: A theoretical analysis and empirical comparison of the Öresund region and the Centrope area
Due to strong regionalization tendencies in many parts of the world, the political collapse in Central and Eastern Europe and the continuing enlargement of the European Union crossborder regions have grown considerably in number and importance in the last years. There is a widespread agreement in the academic literature that in the emerging globalized knowledge economy the competitive strength of these areas increasingly rests on their capacity to create an integrated innovation space. The focus of this paper is on a theoretical analysis of different stages in the development of cross-border regional innovation systems and on a comparative analysis of the innovation capabilities of two cross-border areas in Europe, the Öresund region, composed of Southern Sweden and Eastern Denmark, and the Centrope area, which is located at the intersection of Austria, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Hungary. Departing from the regional innovation system approach, in a first step we will identify conceptually crucial preconditions and key determinants for the rise of transfrontier innovation systems. From an evolutionary perspective cross-border regional innovation systems could be seen as the last and most advanced form of cross-border integration building on the success of previous incremental but less advanced modes of integration. We will discuss a conceptual framework describing the different stages of such a process and we will examine how the prospects for a successful development vary between different geographical settings. This is followed by a comparative analysis of the innovation capacity of the Öresund region and the Centrope area. A special emphasis will be given on comparing the interplay of critical economic, socioinstitutional and political factors, and the main barriers for establishing a cross-border regional innovation system. Our results suggest that the Öresund region and the Centrope area differ enormously regarding their capacity to develop an integrated innovation space.
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