15 July 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.


Global Connectedness and Local Innovation in Industrial Clusters

By: E. Turkina, A. Van Assche. CIRANO, Working Paper N. 2018S-12, ISSN 2292-0838, 2018.

Abstract: “In today’s knowledge economy, clusters are a key driver of a country’s competitiveness. Yet a cluster’s technological base is now more than ever influenced by constituent firms’ actions to tap into distant knowledge sources. Drawing on a social network perspective, and distinguishing between horizontal versus vertical organization-based linkages, we explore the effects of a cluster’s connectedness to foreign locations on its innovation performance. We show that improvements in horizontal and vertical connectedness both stimulate a cluster’s innovation performance, but that their relative effects vary across cluster types. Innovation in knowledge-intensive clusters disproportionately benefits from enhancements in their constituent firms’ horizontal connectedness to foreign knowledge hotspots. Innovation in labor-intensive clusters mostly gains from stronger vertical connections by their firms to central value chain players abroad. We discuss the implications of our findings for research on global knowledge sourcing and cluster upgrading.” [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]


National health innovation systems: Clustering the OECD countries by innovative output in healthcare using a multi indicator approach

By: D. Proksch, J. Busch-Casler, M. M. Haberstroh, A. Pinkwart. Research Policy, Vol. 48, Iss. 1, pp. 169-179, 2018.

Abstract: “The importance of innovation in healthcare has increased within the last decades as challenges, like rising costs and an aging demographic, have to be solved. The degree of innovativeness in healthcare is strongly influenced by the National Health Innovation System, which as a sectoral innovation system encompasses a wide variety of actors and related knowledge. Despite the highly practical relevance of the topic, there are only a few studies that analyze innovation in healthcare on a national level. Thus, this study is a starting point and, building on the theoretical framework of national innovation systems, answers the following questions: “Can countries be grouped by their innovation output in healthcare and do those groups differ in factors describing the healthcare system? Do countries with strong national innovation systems also have strong national health innovation systems and vice versa?” We compare the healthcare innovation output of 30 OECD countries using a multi- indicator approach and categorize them into four distinct groups using cluster analysis. The cluster consisting of the Scandinavian countries, the Netherlands and Switzerland shows the highest innovation output measured in knowledge production and knowledge commercialization. Surprisingly, these countries, with the exception of Switzerland, only rank in the medium group when considering the entire national innovation system. Policymakers and researchers might be particularly interested in studying the healthcare systems of these countries.” [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]


Servitizing industrial regions

By: L. De Propris, S. Storai. Regional Studies, DOI: 10.1080/00343404.2018.1538553, 2018.

Abstract: “The paper explores the evolving role of service sectors in relation to manufacturing activities within local systems of production and it discusses whether issues related to spatial proximity have shaped the value chains of manufacturing activities. Territorial servitization is defined here as the symbiotic recoupling between services and manufacturing that impacts on their relative value creation contribution to both value chains and consumers. The paper presents empirical evidence from the UK by means of employment data at the NUTS-2 level and by five-digit sector level.” [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]


Knowledge base combinations and firm growth

By: M. Grillitsch, T. Schubert, M. Srholec. Research Policy, Vol. 48, Iss. 1, pp. 234-247, 2018.

Abstract: “The link between knowledge and firm growth has been a core topic in economics of innovation for a long time. However, despite strong theoretical arguments, empirical evidence remains inconclusive. One important reason for this conundrum may be the failure of standard indicators to capture firm innovation activities comprehensively. We contribute to overcoming this limitation by looking in the knowledge processes that drive variegated forms of innovation and aim thereby to establish a solid relationship with firm growth in more detail. Our arguments draw on the differentiated knowledge base approach, distinguishing between analytical, synthetic, and symbolic knowledge. We measure the three types of knowledge bases with detailed longitudinal linked-employer-employee micro-data from Sweden. Econometric findings based on a very large sample of small and medium-sized firms indicate significantly positive effects of the three knowledge types, and in particular combinations thereof, on firm growth. In addition, we show that not only high-growth but also slow-growth firms benefit immensely from the use of combinatory knowledge bases. We find evidence on a curvilinear relation between knowledge bases and growth of firms. Beyond certain thresholds increasing the knowledge bases further results in decreasing firm growth. Our results remain robust in a wide range of specifications and econometric models.” [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]


Oligarchic place leadership and resistance to change in industrial districts

By: M. Bellandi, M. Plechero, E. Santini. DISEI - Università degli Studi di Firenze, Working Paper N. 18/2018, 2018.

Abstract: “The capability of local productive systems to react positively to disruptive challenges, entering new paths of development, depends on the presence of supportive local institutions, organizations and actors. A quite recent literature points out the key support given to path transformation by sets of local actors expressing a place leadership (PL). With a focus on industrial districts (IDs), characterized by a manufacturing specialization and a decentralized business organization based on SMEs, the paper aims at exploring conditions of a PL resisting change. We develop a conceptual frame that enables the identification of three different types of PL: open PL, corporate PL, and oligarchic PL. Specifically, oligarchic PL allows to reflect on models of developments and structural conditions where changes to meet disruptive challenges could be intentionally obstructed. In this regard, the paper provides some considerations and examples on how a model deviating from the canonical ID of local development and expressing an oligarchic PL could drive local productive systems through lock-in conditions.” [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]


Mobilising European Structural and Investment Funds and Horizon 2020 in support of innovation in less developed regions

By: D. Pontikakis, M. Doussineau, N. Harrap, M. Boden. European Commission, JRC Technical Reports, S2E Technical Report, doi:10.2760/77101, 2018.

Abstract: “How can EU policies support the development of innovation capabilities in less developed regions? This note examines the mobilisation of the EU’s two major innovation support instruments: the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) and Horizon 2020 (H2020). Using data from Eurostat and European Commission administrative data on ESIF and H2020 funding, we observe a number of salient patterns. While newer member states benefit from higher research and innovation allocations from ESIF, participation in H2020 remains a formidable challenge. Across Europe we find that H2020 participation is closely associated with a number of proxies of the development of national and regional innovation systems. With few exceptions (most notably Slovenia and the Czech Republic) newer member states are characterised by lower overall R&D intensity, their research and innovation systems are less internationalised and most R&D is performed by public research institutions rather than businesses. Based on a review of literature on the determinants of participation in the H2020 (and its predecessor Framework Programmes), the history of today's advanced innovation systems and a consideration of the objectives of, modes of intervention of and possible complementarities between ESIF and H2020 we single out international collaboration and business innovation capabilities as important instrumental objectives for development-minded policy.” [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]


The geographical dimension of structural change

By: R. Boschma. In New Perspectives on Structural Change: Causes and Consequences of Structural Change in the Global Economy, Alcorta, L, N. Foster-McGregor, A. Szirmai and B. Verspagen (eds.), forthcoming, 2018.

Abstract: “This chapter explores patterns of structural change from a geographical perspective. It summarizes recent insights on the geography of structural change, and in particular on regional diversification. It shows how local capabilities and institutions impact on structural change, and why the capacity of regions to diversify differs substantially. This chapter describes how concepts like diversification and relatedness have been fruitfully combined in a rapidly expanding literature. Diversification refers to the emergence of new activities, an important feature of structural change. These new activities are often embedded in, or related to, existing activities at the national and regional scale, requiring similar capabilities. But new activities can also be unrelated to existing ones. For our understanding of structural change, the role of agency is considered crucial, as it shapes diversification at the regional level.” [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]


Technological diversification and Smart Specialisation: the role of cooperation

By: A. Santoalha. Regional Studies, DOI: 10.1080/00343404.2018.1530753, 2018.

Abstract: “Smart Specialisation is closely associated with the concept of diversification. For a better understanding of Smart Specialisation, this paper examines one little-explored explanatory factor of technological diversification: cooperation within and between regions. Using Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) REGPAT data on co-applications for patents, the empirical analysis investigates the role of cooperation between organizations on technological diversification in 226 European regions over 10 five-year periods, 2000–13. Cooperation within and between regions emerges as an important determinant of regional diversification, but both forms of cooperation should evolve hand in hand – singly, each form may prove ineffective at boosting regional diversification.” [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]


Same but different? Research and technology organizations, universities and T the innovation activities of firms

By: E. Giannopouloua, P.-J. Barlatierb, J. Pénin. Research Policy, Vol. 48, Iss. 1, pp. 223-233, 2018.

Abstract: “Research and Technology Organizations (RTOs) and universities are important elements of countries’ innovation systems. As they are both halfway between science and industry, they are often considered to be the same thing. However, recent studies have stressed the differences between the two. In this paper, we analyze the innovative characteristics (impacts and types of innovation and internal R&D investments) of firms that collaborate with RTOs versus universities. Our study is based on statistical analysis of Community Innovation Survey micro-data (CIS 2012). Our results suggest that firms that see RTOs as more important sources of knowledge than uni- versities have a higher probability of developing service innovation, invest less in internal R&D but are less likely to introduce new, groundbreaking innovations into the market. These results have significant policy and management implications, especially regarding the different but complementary contributions offered respectively by RTOs and universities.” [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]