The Innovation Union in Europe
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The Innovation Union in Europe

A Socio-Economic Perspective on EU Integration

Edited by Elias G. Carayannis and George M. Korres

One of the most important economic events in recent decades has been the ongoing process of European integration. This book provides a basic yet rigorous understanding of the current issues and problems of economic integration and innovation in Europe, and argues that national or regional economic development depends mainly on technical change, social and human capital, and knowledge creation and diffusion. This is clearly evident in the role of the quadruple innovation helix of government, university, industry and civil society.
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Chapter 7: Spatial knowledge spillovers within and between European regions: a meta-analysis

A Socio-Economic Perspective on EU Integration

Urban Gråsjö, Charlie Karlsson and Peter Warda


During the last decade we have been able to observe a veritable explosion of interest in ‘knowledge spillovers’. A search using Google Scholar on April 2011 limited to ‘business, administration, finance and economics’ gave 18 000 hits of which more than 70 per cent were from the period 2002–11. This explosive increase in interest in the concept among researchers mirrors both an increased scientific interest and an increased interest among policy makers in the topic. The increased interest among researchers is undoubtedly stimulated by the developments in endogenous growth theory during the two last decades. Among policy makers, we can trace a substantially increased interest in ‘knowledge spillovers’, not least among those within Europe. In fact, 75 per cent of the 18 000 hits contain the word ‘Europe’. In Europe, it is in particular within the European Union (EU) that ‘knowledge spillovers’ have come into focus. The Lisbon Agenda confirmed by EU leaders in March 2000, which aims to create a climate in Europe that stimulates innovation, competitiveness and economic growth, has put ‘knowledge spillovers’ on the European policy agenda. The earliest reference to ‘knowledge spillovers’ that we have been able to find is Griliches and Lichtenberg (1984, p. 466), who define ‘pure knowledge spillovers’ as ‘the cross-fertilization of one industry’s research program by developments occurring in other industries’, that is, as inter-industry spillovers.

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