Innovation in peripheral regions: Do collaborations compensate for a lack of local knowledge spillovers?

Abstract

It is widely accepted that firms in peripheral regions benefit to a lesser extent from local knowledge spillovers than firms located in agglomerations or industrial clusters. This paper investigates the extent to which innovative firms in peripheral regions compensate for the lack of access to local knowledge spillovers by collaborating at other geographical scales. So far, the literature predominantly suggests that collaborations complement rather than compensate for local knowledge spillovers. Using data on the collaboration patterns of innovative firms in Sweden, this paper provides evidence that firms with low access to local knowledge spillovers tend to collaborate more. This effect, however, depends on firm size and in-house capabilities. Our findings suggest that firms with strong in-house capabilities do indeed compensate for a lack of local knowledge spillovers with collaborations while firms with weaker in-house capabilities depend more on the regional knowledge infrastructure.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    The CIS formulates the following question: “During the three years 2006 to 2008, did your enterprise co-operate on any of your innovation activities with other enterprises or institutions? Innovation co-operation is active participation with other enterprises or non-commercial institutions on innovation activities. Both partners do not need to commercially benefit. Exclude pure contracting out of work with no active cooperation”.

  2. 2.

    Marketing, design and organisational innovations are covered in a different section in the CIS. The data on innovation collaborations only relate to product and process innovations.

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Acknowledgments

This work was supported by VINNOVA and FORMAS. We would like to thank VINNOVA for funding the project “Transformation and Growth in Innovation Systems: Innovation Policy for Global competitiveness of SMEs and R&I Milieus” and FORMAS for funding the project “Entrepreneurship, innovation and development in regions of varying economic densities”. We are grateful to two anonymous reviewers for very valuable comments on the previous version of this paper. The usual disclaimer applies.

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Correspondence to Markus Grillitsch.

Appendix

Appendix

See Table 7.

Table 7 Descriptive statistics and correlations

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Grillitsch, M., Nilsson, M. Innovation in peripheral regions: Do collaborations compensate for a lack of local knowledge spillovers?. Ann Reg Sci 54, 299–321 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00168-014-0655-8

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