Science parks and regional innovation performance in fiscal austerity era: Less is more?
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European financial crisis has raised questions about the sustainability and the contribution of innovation anchors especially in Southern European countries such as Greece. This paper utilizes the concept of regional innovation systems (RISs) and introduces a methodological approach that allows for evaluating an Science and Technology Park’s (STP) contribution into the corresponding RIS performance, taking into consideration (1) the RIS idiosyncrasies, (2) the dominant role of government expenditures on R&D and (3) the underlying complexity of knowledge production and management, under alternative sets of restrictions imposed by fiscal consolidation on the preferences of authorities which design and implement Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) policies. Our framework relies on the estimation of a multi-input–multi-output latent knowledge production function approach and the corresponding efficiency indices. Data requirements are sourced from the Regional Innovation Scoreboard, for the four Greek regions and from a small-scale case study, with respect to the examined regional STP covering the period from 2000 to 2012. The main empirical findings highlight that the contribution of the examined STP in the corresponding RIS performance diminishes alongside with the decrease in GERD investment levels, with respect to all the efficiency indices. These findings are attributed to the structural characteristics of both the RIS and the STP under investigation, and capture their dependence on managing public financial resources for STI activities.
KeywordsScience and Technology Parks Regional innovation system Efficiency Financial crisis Dominant policy input Structural equation modeling
JEL ClassificationsD24 L25 L32 O38 R11 R58
The authors acknowledge that the starting point and the drive of this paper have been generated in the context of the INTERREG IVC project ‘InCompass—Regional Policy Improvement for Financially Sustainable Creative Incubator Units’ (Contract Number 1127R4). In this framework, we would like to thank all the project partners and employees of several Technology Parks and Incubators around Europe for sharing of information and experience. We owe special thanks to Patras Science Park employees for their kindness to provide any data we required. This research has been partially cofinanced by the European Union (European Social Fund—ESF) and Greek national funds through the Operational Programme ‘Education and Lifelong Learning’ of the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF)—Research Funding Programme: Thales, investing in knowledge society through the European Social Fund under Grant MIS 380232.
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