TCI Network
22 February 2019

This monthly selection of articles has been carried out by Philippe Gugler and Damiano Lepori, the Center for Competitiveness, University of Fribourg.

The entire selection, carried out since 2013, can be consulted on the academic articles page of our web.


The core in the periphery? The cluster organisation as the central node in the Apulian aerospace district

By: G. Calignano, R. D. Fitjar, D. F. Kolger. Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography No. 17.30, 2017.

Abstract: “Cluster policy is often ineffective in peripheral regions with weak institutions and significant barriers to knowledge production and exchange. Nonetheless, many peripheral regions have pursued such policies in recent years, an example being technology districts in Southern Italy. This paper examines one such district, the aerospace district in Apulia, where policy has focused on indirect support for networking through coordination. This has led to a substantial increase in knowledge exchange within the district, but also to a heavy dependence on the cluster organization itself as the key actor in the knowledge exchange network.” [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]


Knowledge bases, innovation and multi-scalar relationships - Which kind of territorial boundedness of industrial clusters?

By: F. Tödtling, A. Auer. Institute for Multi-level Governance and Development Vienna University of Economics and Business, SRE-Discussion Paper No. 2017/08, 2017.

Abstract: “Innovation is nowadays a highly interdependent process where firms rely on distributed knowledge sources at various spatial scales. It has been argued that innovation interactions are shifting increasingly from local/regional towards global scales and that the region as a space for supporting innovation and competitiveness of firms is losing in importance. We suggest, however, that firms and clusters rely on various kinds of knowledge bases and factors for their development that differ in their geographical mobility and territorial boundedness. Whereas codified knowledge as well as many kinds of goods and services, investment capital, and people have become mobile at a global scale due to improvements of transport- and communication technologies and a lowering of trade barriers, we find other factors that are still territorially bound, such as tacit knowledge that is exchanged in local and social networks, and certain kinds institutions and regulations that are territorially confined. We investigate therefore for different types of industries to what extent and which kind of driving factors for cluster development and innovation have become non-local or foot- lose, or remain territorially bound to regions or countries. This also has relevance for regional and innovation policies that try to enhance the competitiveness of clusters and regional economies.” [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]


The Changing Geography of Innovation and the Role of Multinational Enterprises

By: D. Castellani. The John H Dunning Centre for International Business, Discussion Paper No. JHD-2017-02, 2017.

Abstract: “This paper provides descriptive evidence of the changing geography of inventive activity and the role of MNEs international R&D activities, with quite an extensive geographical coverage. Results highlight that ‘local buzz’ is crucial for the development of knowledge in local economies, and it leads to persistence in innovative activities. However, ‘global pipelines’ are also becoming a crucial element for the successful development of local knowledge. In particular, we first find that the number of regions involved in patenting has increased threefold since the 1980s. Second, despite this increase in the number of regions patenting, 70% of inventions come from the top 100 regions. Third, although the hierarchy of the top patenting regions is not immobile, the propensity to patent is quite dependent on previous innovation. Fourth, international collaboration in patenting has been steadily on the rise over the last three decades. Fifth, international R&D investments of MNEs are indeed also very concentrated in a few locations, which can also be quite distant from the MNEs headquarters’ location.” [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]


Regional Innovator Networks – A Review and an Application with R

By: H. Graf. Jena Economic Research Paper No. 2017-016, 2017.

Abstract: “The article serves as an introduction to the empirical analysis of innovation or knowledge networks based on patent data with a particular focus on regional networks. I provide a review of the literature of innovation networks and how it connects to systemic approaches within the field of innovation studies. The SNA methodology is introduced by performing a comparative regional network study based on the publicly available OECD patent databases.” [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]


Why do firms collaborate with local universities?

By: R. D. Fitjar, M. Gjelsvik. Regional Studies, DOI: 10.1080/00343404.2017.1413237, 2018.

Abstract: “This paper examines why firms sometimes collaborate locally rather than with higher-quality universities at a distance. Existing research has mostly relied on the localized knowledge spillover (LKS) model to explain this. This model holds that knowledge transfer across distance is costly, and collaborating locally reduces the risk of information loss when the knowledge is transferred. However, there are various other reasons that could also explain the pattern. If the local university can make a useful contribution, firms might choose to look no further. Firms may also see collaboration as a long-term investment, helping to build research quality at the local university with the hope of benefiting in future. Finally, firms may want to contribute to the local community. We extend the LKS model with these additional motivations and explore their validity using data from 23 semi-structured interviews of firms that collaborate intensively with lower-tier local universities.” [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]


R&D policy regimes in France: New evidence from a spatio-temporal analysis

By: B. Montmartin, M. Herrera, N. Massard. GAEL Working Paper No. 06/2017, 2017.

Abstract: “Using a unique database containing information on the amount of R&D tax credits and regional, national and European subsidies received by firms in French NUTS3 regions over the period 2001-2011, we provide new evidence on the efficiency of R&D policies taking into account spatial dependency across regions. By estimating a spatial Durbin model with regimes and fixed effects, we show that in a context of yardstick competition between regions, national subsidies are the only instrument that displays total leverage effect. For other instruments internal and external effects balance each other resulting in insignificant total effects. Structural breaks corresponding to tax credit reforms are also revealed.” [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]


Host country R&D determinants of MNE entry strategy: A study of ownership in the automobile industry

By: C. Williams, A. Vrabie. Research Policy, Vol. 47, pp. 474-486, 2018.

Abstract: “We investigate how host country R&D influences ownership decisions made by technology-intensive multi- national enterprises (MNEs) as they internationalize. We draw from institutional and resource based theories, as well as literature on agglomeration and clusters, and construct a unique dataset of 1324 foreign investments recorded by German automobile manufacturers between 2005 and 2012 for our empirical tests. We find that in host countries that are cluster-abundant there will be a greater likelihood that technology-intensive MNEs will adopt joint ventures over wholly-owned subsidiaries, and will more likely use a lower equity stake in any joint venture. We find partial support for the influence of other aspects of host country R&D, including innovation output and inward technology FDI. Various robustness tests and insights from selected cases provide further support. Importantly, findings demonstrate the importance of multi-dimensional characteristics of host country R&D over and above those such as market size, political stability and cultural distance that are more commonly utilized and discussed in the entry strategy literature. The findings have implications for host country policy as well as strategy-makers in MNEs seeking to compete on the basis of globalized R&D.” [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]


Between spilling over and boiling down: network-mediated spillovers, absorptive capacity and productivity in European regions

By: N. Cortinovis, F. V. Oort. Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper No. TI 2017-118/VI, 2017.                  

Abstract: “Productivity across European regions is related to three types of networks that mediate R&D-related knowledge spillovers: trade, co-patenting and geographical proximity. Both our panel and instrumental variable estimations for European regions suggest that network relations are crucial sources of R&D spillovers, but with potentially different features. While co-patenting relations appear to affect local productivity directly, regions that link up to innovative leader regions via imports gain in productivity only when they have relatively high levels of human capital and absorptive capacity. From a policy perspective, this may frustrate recent European policy initiatives, such as Smart Specialization, that are designed to benefit all regions in Europe.” [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]


Generative growth with ‘thin’ globalization: Cambridge’s crossover model of innovation

By: P. Cooke. European Planning Studies, DOI: 10.1080/09654313.2017.1421908, 2018.

Abstract: “Changes in leading-edge urban and regional development processes and policies signify the rise of the ‘Quaternary’ or 4.0 Era of economic growth. Few such spaces exist yet, but they have prodigious global reach from locations like Cambridge (as the exemplar here), Israel and Silicon Valley. Their surface spread has led to the designation ‘thin globalization’ compared with ‘thick’ antecedents based on manufacturing and routine services. Each displays ‘post-cluster’ or ‘platform’ inter-connectivity and even early signs of ‘de-globalization’ via on-shoring of suppliers. Pioneers in ‘crossover’ innovation 4.0 platform evolution include ‘flagship’ corporations like FAGAMi (Facebook, Apple, Google, Amazon and Microsoft). These and other flagships acquire and site labs in proximity to Cambridge’s and other university research institutes and talent. They work to what seems like a neoliberal ‘Plan for the Future’ in at least three cases embedded in futuristic urban design utopias. This further advantages innovation ‘microsystems’ like Cambridge and innovation ‘macrosystems’ like Silicon Valley that evolve diversified ‘platform-clusters’ of ‘crossover’ innovations flowing from interactions among microelectronic systems, advanced mobility, machine learning, AI, robotics be mitigated healthcare. The research problem is how can such extreme uneven growth polarization (…).” [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]