Foundations, State of the Art, Future
Edited by Roel Rutten and Frans Boekema
7. Knowledge and the competitiveness of places Ed Malecki and Gert-Jan Hospers Generally speaking, knowledge created and shared forms the basis of competitive areas. The competitiveness of places – localities, regions and nations – refers to the ability of the local economy and society to provide a rising standard of living for its inhabitants. Rarely is this possible by relying upon external investment such as branch plants, whose principal orientation and organizational links are external to the region. Rather, the strength of an economy is dependent on the degree to which knowledge is created, used and shared. Places are better oﬀ when they promote shared or public knowledge from which many ﬁrms and other organizations can beneﬁt. It is diﬃcult to create suﬃcient knowledge that could serve as a basis for local competitiveness. It is even more diﬃcult to sustain it, however, because of the continuous emergence of competitor regions (Malecki, 1997; Hospers, 2005). This chapter deals with the link between knowledge and the competitiveness of places. In particular, it examines the link between creativity, knowledge, competence, learning and their role in creating and sustaining regional economic development. The chapter begins by deﬁning knowledge and identifying the various forms that knowledge takes in the economic geography of places. Next, knowledge as input to economic growth and the transfer of knowledge are discussed, including a consideration of how local knowledge has become central to understanding ﬁrms. The focus of the chapter then shifts to the culture of knowledge,...
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