The Annals of Regional Science

, Volume 62, Issue 1, pp 119–140 | Cite as

Localization of collaborations in knowledge creation

  • Hiroyasu Inoue
  • Kentaro NakajimaEmail author
  • Yukiko Umeno Saito
Original Paper


This study investigates the localization of collaboration in knowledge creation by using data on Japanese patent applications. Applying distance-based methods, we obtained the following results. First, collaborations are significantly localized at the 5% level with a localization range of approximately 100 km. Second, the localization of collaboration is observed in most technologies. Third, the extent of localization was stable from 1986 to 2005 despite extensive developments in information and communications technology that facilitate communication between remote organizations. Fourth, the extent of localization is substantially greater in inter-firm collaborations than in intra-firm collaborations. Furthermore, in inter-firm collaborations, the extent of localization is greater in collaborations with small firms. This result suggests that geographic proximity mitigates the firm-border effects on collaborations, especially for small firms.

JEL Classification

R12 O31 



This study is conducted as a part of the Project “Inter-organizational and Inter-inventors Geographical Proximity and Networks” undertaken at Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI). We thank two anonymous referees for their useful suggestions that significantly improved the paper. We thank Victor Couture, Jonathan Dingel, Gilles Duranton, Tatsuaki Kuroda, Yasusada Murata, Sadao Nagaoka, Ryosuke Okamoto, Yukako Ono, and the participants at the UEA in Ottawa, the ARSC at Toyama University, and at seminars at Fukuoka University, Hitotsubashi University, Kobe University, Nihon University, RIETI, Temple University, and the University of Tokyo for their helpful comments. We also thank the Center for Spatial Information Science, University of Tokyo, for providing us with geocoding services. We gratefully acknowledge financial support from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (Nos. 15K01217, 16H02018, 16K13367, 17H02508, 17H02514, 17H02517, 17H02518, 18H00859, and 18K04615). We gratefully acknowledge NIRA for providing funding and setting up interviews with patent-publishing companies.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hiroyasu Inoue
    • 1
  • Kentaro Nakajima
    • 2
    Email author
  • Yukiko Umeno Saito
    • 3
  1. 1.Graduate School of Simulation StudiesUniversity of HyogoKobeJapan
  2. 2.Institute of Innovation ResearchHitotsubashi UniversityKunitachiJapan
  3. 3.Graduate School of EconomicsWaseda UniversityTokyoJapan

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