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Measuring the efficiency of regional innovation systems: an empirical assessment


  • Fritsch, Michael
  • Slavtchev, Viktor


We measure the efficiency of regional innovation systems (RIS) in Germany by means of a knowledge production function. This function relates private sector Research and Development (R&D) in a region to the number of inventions that have been registered by residents of that region. Two approaches are followed. First, it is assumed that differences in the productivity of private sector R&D between regions affect the slope of the KPF, which represents the marginal productivity of R&D input. The second approach assesses regional differences within the framework of a stochastic frontier knowledge production function. This approach mainly reveals differences with regard to the intercept of the knowledge production function and, therefore, with regard to the average productivity. We compare the results of both approaches and discuss a number of critical issues such as the properties of the distribution of efficiencies, the appropriate size of RIS, and how to deal with the issue of spatial autocorrelation.

Suggested Citation

  • Fritsch, Michael & Slavtchev, Viktor, 2006. "Measuring the efficiency of regional innovation systems: an empirical assessment," Freiberg Working Papers 2006,08, TU Bergakademie Freiberg, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:tufwps:200608

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Oerlemans, L.A.G. & Meeus, M.T.H. & Boekema, F.W.M., 2001. "Firm clustering and innovation," Other publications TiSEM c4398688-1710-449a-83e7-e, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    2. Michael Fritsch & Viktor Slavtchev, 2005. "The Role of Regional Knowledge for Innovation," ERSA conference papers ersa05p623, European Regional Science Association.
    3. repec:fth:harver:1473 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Anselin, Luc, 1990. "Some robust approaches to testing and estimation in spatial econometrics," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 141-163, September.
    5. Zvi Griliches, 1998. "Issues in Assessing the Contribution of Research and Development to Productivity Growth," NBER Chapters,in: R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence, pages 17-45 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Michael Fritsch, 2004. "Cooperation and the efficiency of regional R&D activities," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(6), pages 829-846, November.
    7. Acs, Zoltan J. & Anselin, Luc & Varga, Attila, 2002. "Patents and innovation counts as measures of regional production of new knowledge," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(7), pages 1069-1085, September.
    8. Rosina Moreno & Raffaele Paci & Stefano Usai, 2005. "Geographical and sectoral clusters of innovation in Europe," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 39(4), pages 715-739, December.
    9. Manfred M. Fischer & Attila Varga, 2003. "Spatial knowledge spillovers and university research: Evidence from Austria," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 37(2), pages 303-322, May.
    10. Zvi Griliches, 1998. "Patent Statistics as Economic Indicators: A Survey," NBER Chapters,in: R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence, pages 287-343 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Baptista, Rui & Swann, Peter, 1998. "Do firms in clusters innovate more?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 525-540, September.
    12. Deyle, Hanno-G. & Grupp, Hariolf, 2005. "Commuters and the regional assignment of innovative activities: A methodological patent study of German districts," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 221-234, March.
    13. Michael Fritsch, 2000. "Interregional Differences in R&D Activities—An Empirical Investigation," European Planning Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(4), pages 409-427, August.
    14. Frans W.M. Boekema & Marius T.H. Meeus & Leon A.G. Oerlemans, 2001. "articles: Firm clustering and innovation: Determinants and effects," Papers in Regional Science, Springer;Regional Science Association International, vol. 80(3), pages 337-356.
    15. Ronde, Patrick & Hussler, Caroline, 2005. "Innovation in regions: What does really matter?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(8), pages 1150-1172, October.
    16. Aigner, Dennis & Lovell, C. A. Knox & Schmidt, Peter, 1977. "Formulation and estimation of stochastic frontier production function models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 21-37, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Leydesdorff, Loet & Fritsch, Michael, 2006. "Measuring the knowledge base of regional innovation systems in Germany in terms of a Triple Helix dynamics," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(10), pages 1538-1553, December.
    2. Michael Fritsch & Viktor Slavtchev, 2007. "What determines the efficiency of regional innovation systems?," Jena Economic Research Papers 2007-006, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    3. Alexandra Schröter, 2008. "Perspektiven der Innovationspolitik in den neuen Bundesländern," ifo Dresden berichtet, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 15(02), pages 40-52, 04.
    4. Michael Fritsch, 2007. "The Geography and the Effect of Creative People in Germany," Jena Economic Research Papers 2007-001, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    5. Michael Fritsch & Viktor Slavtchev, 2010. "How does industry specialization affect the efficiency of regional innovation systems?," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 45(1), pages 87-108, August.
    6. Tom Broekel & Thomas Brenner, 2011. "Regional factors and innovativeness: an empirical analysis of four German industries," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 47(1), pages 169-194, August.
    7. Tom Broekel & Thomas Brenner, 2007. "Measuring Regional Innovativeness - A Methodological Discussion and an Application to One German Industry," Jena Economic Research Papers 2007-065, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.

    More about this item


    Knowledge; innovation; spillovers; patents; regional analysis;

    JEL classification:

    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)


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