Myths, Visions and Realities
New Horizons in Regional Science series
Edited by Marina van Geenhuizen and Peter Nijkamp
Chapter 14: Knowledge Exchange in Trans-national City Networks: Evolutionary Mechanisms in Cross-local Learning Among European Cities
1 Martin de Jong and Jurian Edelenbos INTRODUCTION In the past decade and a half, an extensive literature has developed in which the merits of an evolutionary approach to regional systems of innovation were pointed out (Cooke, 2001, 2005, 2010; Iammarino, 2005; Kalantaridis, 2006; Van Geenhuizen and Nijkamp, 2006; Prange, 2008; Iammarino and McCann, 2010). A regional innovation system (RIS) has been defined as the localized network of actors and institutions in the public and private sector whose activities and interaction generate, import and modify new technologies within and outside the region (Iammarino, 2005). These are often studied as subnational units with the help of an evolutionary economic framework taken from Nelson and Winter (1982). Since each RIS has a different constellation of actors, institutions, historical interaction patterns and industrial strengths and weaknesses, the adoption of similar policies has differential outcomes, and evolutionary approaches can often demonstrate (at least qualitatively) what mechanisms of variation and selection come into play in the adoption of new public policies. Many ideas on developing and fostering knowledge cities and regions are exchanged internationally and it is not uncommon for international organizations and knowledge networks to draft cross-national and/or cross-regional benchmarks encouraging mutual policy learning. Global knowledge exchange implies an increase in the intensity of comparison, but not necessarily a growth of policy convergence. Variation among institutional systems persists and RISs incorporate global themes following their own path-dependent institutional logics (Knill, 2001; De Jong et al., 2002; Radaelli, 2004; Holzinger and Knill, 2005; Adams, 2008;...
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