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The role of geographical proximity in innovation: Do regional and local levels really matter?

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  • Gust-Bardon, Natalia Irena

Abstract

Globalisation and the advent of information and communication technology (ICT) change the role of spatial distance in innovation activities. Geographical proximity used to be seen as a necessary condition to share tacit knowledge and to enhance trust between innovators; now this approach is being challenged by claiming that the role played by spatial distance diminishes with time. The aim of this paper is to present territorial innovation models as examples of theories based on assumptions of a crucial role of local environment and spatial distance in innovation processes and to present arguments against the said assumption. The paper concludes advocating the encouragement to cooperate both within the local network area and with distant partners and the creation of territorial innovation models as open systems engaged in interactive learning by global connectivity.

Suggested Citation

  • Gust-Bardon, Natalia Irena, 2012. "The role of geographical proximity in innovation: Do regional and local levels really matter?," Working Papers "Firms and Region" R4/2012, Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:fisifr:r42012
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    1. Andre Torre, 2008. "On the Role Played by Temporary Geographical Proximity in Knowledge Transmission," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(6), pages 869-889.
    2. James Simmie, 2003. "Innovation and Urban Regions as National and International Nodes for the Transfer and Sharing of Knowledge," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(6-7), pages 607-620.
    3. Schmitz, Hubert & Musyck, Bernard, 1994. "Industrial districts in Europe: Policy lessons for developing countries?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 22(6), pages 889-910, June.
    4. Weterings, Anet & Boschma, Ron, 2009. "Does spatial proximity to customers matter for innovative performance?: Evidence from the Dutch software sector," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(5), pages 746-755, June.
    5. Andre Torre & Alain Rallet, 2005. "Proximity and Localization," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(1), pages 47-59.
    6. Frank Moulaert & Farid Sekia, 2003. "Territorial Innovation Models: A Critical Survey," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(3), pages 289-302.
    7. Todtling, Franz & Trippl, Michaela, 2005. "One size fits all?: Towards a differentiated regional innovation policy approach," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(8), pages 1203-1219, October.
    8. Kevin Morgan, 2004. "The exaggerated death of geography: learning, proximity and territorial innovation systems," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(1), pages 3-21, January.
    9. Elvira Uyarra, 2010. "What is evolutionary about ‘regional systems of innovation’? Implications for regional policy," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 20(1), pages 115-137, January.
    10. Rolf Sternberg, 1999. "Innovative Linkages and Proximity: Empirical Results from Recent Surveys of Small and Medium Sized Firms in German Regions," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(6), pages 529-540.
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