, Volume 39, Issue 4, pp 741-765
Date: 23 Nov 2005

How does accessibility to knowledge sources affect the innovativeness of corporations?—evidence from Sweden

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This paper studies the innovative performance of 130 Swedish corporations during 1993–1994. The number of patents per corporation is explained as a function of the accessibility to internal and external knowledge sources of each corporation. A coherent way of handling accessibility measures, within and between corporations located across regions, is introduced. We examine the relative importance of intra- and interregional knowledge sources from 1) the own corporation, 2) other corporations, and 3) universities. The results show that there is a positive relationship between the innovativeness of a corporation and its accessibility to university researchers within regions where own research groups are located. Good accessibility among the corporation's research units does not have any significant effects on the likelihood of generation of patents. Instead the size of the R&D staff of the corporation seems to be the most important internal factor. There is no indication that intraregional accessibility to other corporations' research is important for a corporation's innovativeness. However, there is some indication of reduced likelihood for own corporate patenting when other corporate R&D is located in nearby regions. This may reflect a negative effect from competition for R&D labor.

Earlier versions of this paper have been presented at a workshop in Piteå, Sweden, organized by the Swedish Agency for Innovation Systems (VINNOVA), the Swedish Institute for Growth Policy Studies (ITPS) and NUTEK, and at the DRUID winter conference in Ålborg, Denmark. It has also been presented at COST Commission, action A17, in Cambridge, Oslo and Prague, and sponsored by the EU-Commission. The comments at all these seminars have been most helpful. We thank Henk Folmer, Francesco Lissoni and Rosina Moreno for useful comments.