Myths, Visions and Realities
Edited by Marina van Geenhuizen and Peter Nijkamp
Chapter 12: Spatial Network-based and Regional Proximity in US Biotechnology
12. Spatial, network-based and regional proximity in US biotechnology Der-Shiuan Lee and Breandán Ó hUallacháin INTRODUCTION Regional differences of inventive activity and economic growth are important issues in economic geography. These differences are generally explained by the theory of localized knowledge spillovers (LKSs), which argues that geographical proximity among economic actors (for example, inventors, firms, or research organizations) fosters invention and innovation. Empirical evidence for the presence of LKSs is widespread in cities and regions across the US and Europe. Spatial concentration of inventive firms in clusters enhances the possibility of knowledge exchange and lowers costs through trade in goods and services, labor mobility, research collaboration and interpersonal communication (for example, Jaffe, 1989; Acs et al., 1994; Audretsch and Feldman, 1996; Anselin et al., 1997; Almeida and Kogut, 1999; Varga, 2000; Autant-Bernard, 2001). While studies of LKSs and spatial dependence are prominent in economic geography, other scholars highlight the role of collaborative networks in which individuals and groups are embedded in webs of social relationships through formal connections and informal linkages (Rondé and Hussler, 2005; Maggioni et al., 2007; Knoben, 2009; Wilhelmsson, 2009). In collaborative networks, people exchange information, develop vicariously perceptions and opinions, and reduce uncertainty about events, ideas, or phenomena in pursuit of particular goals (Rice and Aydin, 1991; Amin and Cohendet, 2006). Breschi and Lissoni (2003) argue that collaborative networks are channels for knowledge spillovers that are not limited to local environments but can span long distances (also see Maggioni et al., 2007; Ponds et al...
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