Table of Contents

Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Economic Geography

Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Economic Geography

Handbooks of Research Methods and Applications series

Edited by Charlie Karlsson, Martin Andersson and Therese Norman

The main purpose of this Handbook is to provide overviews and assessments of the state-of-the-art regarding research methods, approaches and applications central to economic geography. The chapters are written by distinguished researchers from a variety of scholarly traditions and with a background in different academic disciplines including economics, economic, human and cultural geography, and economic history. The resulting handbook covers a broad spectrum of methodologies and approaches applicable in analyses pertaining to the geography of economic activities and economic outcomes.

Chapter 13: Methods and applications of regional innovation systems analysis

Bjørn Asheim, Lars Coenen and Jerker Moodysson

Subjects: economics and finance, regional economics, geography, economic geography, research methods in geography, research methods, research methods in economics, research methods in geography, urban and regional studies, regional economics, research methods in urban and regional studies


After entering the scene in the late 1980s and early 1990s (e.g. Freeman, 1987; Lundvall, 1988; Cooke, 1992), the innovation systems approach was until 2003 represented in more than 750 scientific publications (Carlsson, 2004). The ‘classics’ include Lundvall (1992), Nelson (1993) and Braczyk et al. (1998). Comprehensive overviews and illustrative examples, both of empirical work and the theoretical roots of the approach, are, in addition to those mentioned above, found in Edquist (1997), Cooke et al. (2004), Fagerberg et al. (2005) and Eklund (2007), among other sources. A reasonable estimation, based on our own participation in academic conferences and readings of the literature during the recent decade, is that the number of publications elaborating on the innovation systems approach has grown exponentially since Carlsson’s (2004) survey. Another review of the conceptual basis and main issues addressed in the innovation system literature would therefore not only go far beyond the scope of this chapter, but neither would it add much to our understanding of the concept, or to the research questions of concern. The purpose of the chapter is rather to provide an overview of the central features of the innovation systems approach, as it has evolved over the past decade, and to discuss some core methodological challenges connected to empirical studies of regional innovation systems (RIS) and related policy.

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