Handbook on the Geographies of Innovation
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Handbook on the Geographies of Innovation

Edited by Richard Shearmu, Christophe Carrincazeaux and David Doloreux

The geography of innovation is changing. First, it is increasingly understood that innovative firms and organizations exhibit a wide variety of strategies, each being differently attuned to diverse geographic contexts. Second, and concomitantly, the idea that cities, clusters and physical proximity are essential for innovation is evolving under the weight of new theorizing and empirical evidence. In this Handbook we gather 28 chapters by scholars with widely differing views on what constitutes the geography of innovation. The aim of the Handbook is to break with the many ideas and concepts that emerged during the course of the 1980s and 1990s, and to fully take into account the new reality of the internet, mobile communication technologies, personal mobility and globalization. This does not entail the rejection of well-established and supported ideas, but instead allows for a series of new ideas and authors to enter the arena and provoke debate.
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Part II Relatedness and knowledge bases: introduction

Richard Shearmur, Christophe Carrincazeaux and David Doloreux

Extract

Knowledge plays a major role in explaining the geography of innovation. Of the Marshallian externalities, knowledge externalities are the principal explanation of the local dimension of innovation. Glaeser et al. (1992, p. 1127), for instance, state in their seminal paper about growth in cities: ‘After all, intellectual breakthroughs must cross hallways and streets more easily than oceans and continents.’ This idea, that knowledge combination and diffusion is easier at the local level, has underpinned most of the 1990s literature and is generally based on the distinction between knowledge (tacit) and information (codified). However, there is now a sizeable literature on knowledge categories and learning processes (see, for example, Amin and Cohendet, 2004). Critiques of this simple binary opposition and its geographical implications (Torre and Rallet, 2005) are now widely acknowledged (Bathelt et al., 2004): knowledge flows occur at different spatial scales simultaneously and the geography of knowledge is far from being a simple articulation between local (tacit) and global (codified) forms of diffusion (Bathelt and Cohendet, 2014).

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