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 VI Transnational mobility and networks: introduction

Richard Shearmur, Christophe Carrincazeaux and David Doloreux


Numerous contributions in this Handbook emphasize the – sometimes overestimated – role of local relations and the extent to which external flows of knowledge and interactions contribute to the innovation process. This penultimate part presents contributions that adopt a logical methodological alternative to focusing on the local, by directly addressing the question of distant interactions. Of course, different aspects of distant relations have been explored in the innovation field. Empirical work on knowledge spillovers, for example, focuses on the role of distance between agents in order to evaluate the effect of externalities on economic performance. This distance can be geographical, but can also cover other (combined) types of distance in order to weight potential externality channels (for example, input/output matrices or technological distance in patents for Scherer, 1982, and Jaffe, 1986; structure of international trade for international spillover approaches, as in Coe and Helpman, 1995). From a different theoretical background, distant connections are supported by some types of proximity (Ferru and Rallet, Chapter 5, this volume) or by temporary mobility (temporary proximity for Torre, 2008; trade fairs for Maskell et al., 2006). The mobility of firms and global value chains (Beugelsdijk et al., 2010) or the mobility of scientists (Zucker et al., 2002) are also illustrative of this tradition. Questions raised by these approaches are at the heart of the geography of innovation: how does knowledge flow across distance? How does creativity that results from the combination of knowledge occur without permanent geographical proximity? How can one communicate between, and coordinate, actors in distant locations?

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