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On the role of general purpose technologies within the Marshall-Jacobs controversy: The case of nanotechnologies


  • Menz, Nina
  • Ott, Ingrid


This paper investigates the role of nanotechnologies as a general purpose technology for regional development. Due to pervasiveness, nanotechnologies may be utilized in diverse applications thereby providing the basis for both localization and urbanization externalities. We carry out patent and publication analyses for the city state of Hamburg during the period 1990-2010. We find evidence that nanotechnologies are advanced in the context of regional knowledge bases and follow up prevailing specialization patterns. As nanotechnologies develop both industry specific and city specific externalities become effective leading to specialization deepening and specialization widening which both are functions of the increasing nano-knowledge base.

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  • Menz, Nina & Ott, Ingrid, 2011. "On the role of general purpose technologies within the Marshall-Jacobs controversy: The case of nanotechnologies," Working Paper Series in Economics 18, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Department of Economics and Business Engineering.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:kitwps:18

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Garcia-Vega, Maria, 2006. "Does technological diversification promote innovation?: An empirical analysis for European firms," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 230-246, March.
    2. R. Paci & S. Usai, 2000. "Externalities, knowledge spillovers and the spatial distribution of innovation," Working Paper CRENoS 200002, Centre for North South Economic Research, University of Cagliari and Sassari, Sardinia.
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    More about this item


    general purpose technology; nanotechnology; specialization; diversification; Marshall-Jacobs controversy; patent and publication analysis;

    JEL classification:

    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives

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