20 May 2015

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


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


Control by proximity: Evidence from the ‘Aerospace Valley’ Competitiveness Cluster

By : Rachel Levy and Damien Talbot. Regional Studies, Volume 49, Issue 6, Pages 955-972, 2015.

Abstract: « This paper is concerned with the links that exist between the control of inter-organizational relationships and effects of proximity. It proposes a theoretical framework that explains how geographical and organizational proximities reinforce formal and informal control mechanisms. This framework is then used to analyse mechanisms of control by proximity in a French aerospace cluster. It is observed that formal and informal control is concentrated in a small number of groups located near the majority of the establishments' members of the cluster. It is also shown that informal control mechanisms require a stronger geographical proximity than formal control mechanisms in order to operate.» [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]


Is Specialization Good for Regional Economic Development?

By : Thomas Kemeny and Michael Storper. Regional Studies, Volume 49, Issue 6, Pages 1003-1018, 2015.

Abstract: « Debates about urban growth and change often centre on specialization. However, arguments linking specialization to metropolitan economic development contain diverse, and sometimes conflicting, claims. Is it better to be highly specialized or diversified? Does specialization refer to the absolute or relative scale of an activity in a region? Does specialization have static or evolutionary effects? This paper investigates these questions in theoretical and empirical terms. By analysing local agglomerations over time, it is found that growing absolute specialization is positively linked to wages, while changes in relative concentration are not significantly associated with wage dynamics.» [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]


Pilot Innovative Territorial Clusters in Russia: A Sustainable Development Mode

By : Evgeniy Kutsenko. Foresight Russia, Volume 9, Issue 1, Pages 32-55, 2015.

Abstract: «Leading countries consider regional clusters an efficient tool of interaction between actors of a regional innovation system, which enables new poles of economic growth to be formed. There is a large literature describing the positive experience of public support for clusters. In Russia, this process is still at an early stage. Russia’s strategy of innovative development up to 2020 includes a programme for supporting pilot innovative regional clusters. The aim is to make these clusters self-sustainable. The emergence and outlook of a cluster largely depend on a range of basic conditions such as: the urban environment; an available critical mass of specialized companies; internal competition; and openness to the outside world. There is always a risk that without government support, the cluster will not be able to shift to the desired trajectory. The paper reviews existing studies on the best practices of implementing state cluster policy in different parts of the world. It provides a detailed analysis of the characteristic features of successful clusters, and evaluates the extent to which Russia’s pilot innovative regional clusters match these criteria of success. It also quantitatively compares domestic and foreign clusters, and suggests a model for sustainable cluster development.The study is based on an empirical analysis of the development programmes of pilot innovative regional clusters that were submitted to the Ministry of Economic Development of Russia in 2012 as part of a special competition. The paper also analyses the results of a survey commissioned by the joint stock company ‘Russian Venture Company’ at the end of 2013.» [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]


Composition of inventor teams and technological progress – The role of collaboration between academia and industry

By Friedrich Dornbusch and Peter Neuhäusler. Research Policy, Volume 44, Issue 7, Pages 1360–1375, 2015.

Abstract: « It is generally claimed that universities provide the scientific basis for future technological progress. Still, empirical evidence of the impact of direct links between universities and firms remains weak and is often inconsistent. This paper aims at contributing to the literature by analyzing how direct academic involvement affects the output of inventive activities of research teams with different organizational backgrounds. By applying a unique dataset of German academic and corporate patents, we find that boundary-spanning knowledge production with academic inventors raises the innovative performance of SMEs and MNEs. Finally, in line with previous research, the results generally indicate a limiting effect of geographical proximity, while teams with academic involvement appear to be less affected.» [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]


Proximity and Innovation: From Statics to Dynamics

By : Pierre-Alexandre Balland, Ron Boschmaa and Koen Frenken. Regional Studies, Volume 49, Issue 6, Pages 907-920, 2015.

Abstract: « Despite theoretical and empirical advances, the proximity framework has remained essentially static. A dynamic extension of the proximity framework is proposed that accounts for co-evolutionary dynamics between knowledge networking and proximity. For each proximity dimension, how proximities might increase over time as a result of past knowledge ties is described. These dynamics are captured through the processes of learning (cognitive proximity), integration (organizational proximity), decoupling (social proximity), institutionalization (institutional proximity), and agglomeration (geographical proximity). The paper ends with a discussion of several avenues for future research on the dynamics of knowledge networking and proximity.» [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]


The Co-evolution of Proximities – A Network Level Study

By : Tom Broekel. Regional Studies, Volume 49, Issue 6, Pages 921-935, 2015.

Abstract: « Little is known about how network structures and proximity relations between linked actors evolve over time. This paper argues that a number of networks’ internal proximity structures are interrelated, which may give rise to specific types of co-evolution dynamics. An empirical investigation tests these arguments using information on the evolution of 280 networks of subsidized research and development (R&D) collaboration in Germany. The empirical findings clearly confirm the existence of systematic and dynamic interrelatedness between proximities. In this way, the paper underlines the need to consider such relations when investigating the evolution of knowledge networks.» [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]


Understanding the emergence of new science and technology policies: Policy entrepreneurship, agenda setting and the development of the European Framework Programme

By Jakob Edler and Andrew D. James. Research Policy, Volume 44, Issue 6, Pages 1252–1265, 2015.

Abstract: « We utilise conceptual frameworks from political science on agenda setting, policy entrepreneurship and the role of the European Commission to understand the emergence of a new research theme (security) under the Seventh Framework Programme. We open-up the “black box” of the European Commission and in so doing examine the controversies that emerged within the Commission as well as the critical role of mid-ranking officials in identifying and utilising a political window of opportunity provided by the 9/11 attacks on the United States. We emphasise ambiguity as a key feature in the complex process of framing and mobilisation and develop the idea of ambiguity as a multi-dimensional and dynamic phenomenon that changes its nature and function over the different stages of the agenda setting process. We argue that the understanding of science and technology policy making can benefit by applying this agenda setting approach and its emphasis on the origins of policy, the agenda setting process and the role of policy entrepreneurship.» [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]


Trend Networks: Multidimensional Proximity and the Formation of Aesthetic Choices in the Creative Economy

By : Frédéric C. Godart. Regional Studies, Volume 49, Issue 6, Pages 973-984, 2015.

Abstract: « In sociology, a key challenge is to comprehend the formation of aesthetic choices in the highly uncertain settings of the creative industries. The multidimensional proximity perspective – which goes beyond the geographical – developed in economic geography can be used to complement sociological approaches to the formation of choices in creative contexts. The question is explored using a comprehensive large-scale longitudinal dataset of high-end fashion organizations and their selection of stylistic trends presented at biannual fashion shows. Using a social network analysis approach, proximity constructs (geographical, temporal, organizational and status-based) are used to explain the choice of trends conceptualized as temporary proximity.» [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]


Borrowed Size, Agglomeration Shadows and Cultural Amenities in North-West Europe

By : Martijn J. Burger, Evert J. Meijers, Marloes M. Hoogerbrugge and Jaume Masip Tresserra. European Planning Studies, Volume 23, Issue 6, pp. 1090-1109, 2015.

Abstract: « It has been argued that the concept of “borrowed size” is essential to understanding urban patterns and dynamics in North-West Europe. This paper conceptualizes this idea and provides an empirical exploration of it. A place borrows size when it hosts more urban functions than its own size could normally support. A borrowed size for one place means that other places face an “agglomeration shadow” because they host fewer urban functions than they would normally support. This paper explores the extent to which size and function are related for places in North-West Europe and tries to explain why one place borrows size while the other faces an agglomeration shadow by examining the position of places within the regional urban system. The presence of urban functions was approximated using high-end cultural amenities. We conclude that the largest places in their functional urban area (FUA) are better able to exploit their own mass. The largest place in a FUA is also better able to borrow size from nearby places and from (inter)national urban networks than the lower-ranked places.» [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]


Industrial Policy In Developing Countries

Edited by Tilman Altenburg and Wilfried Lütkenhorst. Edward Elgar Publishing Limited, Cheltenham, UK, 2015.

Abstract: « Against the backdrop of persistently high levels of poverty and inequality, critical environmental boundaries and increasing global economic interdependence, this book addresses the role and impact of industrial policies in developing countries. Accepting the reality of both market failure and policy failure, it identifies the conditions under which industrial policy can deliver socially desirable results. General conclusions on the political economy of development are complemented by country case studies covering Egypt, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Namibia, Tunisia and Vietnam.» [ABSTRACT FROM EDITORS]