The Dynamic Transformation of the Finnish Innovation System
New Horizons in the Economics of Innovation series
Edited by Gerd Schienstock
Chapter 9: From the national industrial heartland towards a node in the global knowledge economy: The case of Tampere Region
* Mika Kautonen, Pasi Koski and Gerd Schienstock 9.1 INTRODUCTION Numerous studies on the dynamics of firms and industries have been carried out in which variables like technological research, capital investment, corporate organization, labour skills, macroeconomic policy and many others have been exhaustively examined in an attempt to determine firm and industrial performance. As a result, a vast body of important insights has been accumulated. With some minor exceptions, however, the problem as to whether or not firm and industrial performance might also somehow be grounded in geography and location has been mostly overlooked (see for example Scott 1998). This is somewhat surprising for several reasons. First, a considerable proportion of total world output of particular goods is produced in a limited number of highly concentrated regions. Second, firms in particular industries, or firms that are technologically or otherwise related, tend to locate in the same place and form geographically bounded agglomerations (Porter and Sölvell 1998, p. 441). Third, both of these phenomena tend to be persistent over time – even in the case of new knowledge-intensive industries, in which firms are usually highly capable of exploiting the full state-of-the-art possibilities of information and communication technologies. In fact, the local and regional levels seem to increase in importance compared to the national level, as far as innovation processes are concerned. This is due to, for example, EU policies, increased regional endogenous development actions also facilitated by these policies, as well as multinational companies (MNCs) searching for suitable investment locations, in addition...
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