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 VII Local impacts of innovation: introduction

Richard Shearmur, Christophe Carrincazeaux and David Doloreux


Literature on the geography of innovation has almost exclusively dealt with questions that pertain to where innovation occurs. A wide variety of such questions have been asked: what are the local factors and institutions that are conducive to innovation in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)? What is the extent of local innovation-related spillovers? Which cities patent, in which technological classes? Where do creative people – understood as initiators of innovation – choose to live? Where do scientist travel to and exchange ideas? Far more rarely have questions been asked that focus on the local impact of innovation. It has been assumed – not only by researchers but by policymakers – that innovation is desirable, and that, to the extent it occurs in a locality, it will benefit that locality. This assumption rests loosely on ideas derived from endogenous growth theory, that is, the idea that economic growth is driven by innovation (which is endogenous to the economic system), and that, furthermore, economic growth is beneficial to society at large.

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