The Handbook of Evolutionary Economic Geography
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The Handbook of Evolutionary Economic Geography

Edited by Ron Boschma and Ron Martin

This wide-ranging Handbook is the first major compilation of the theoretical and empirical research that is forging the new and exciting paradigm of evolutionary economic geography.
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Chapter 5: The Spatial Evolution of Innovation Networks: A Proximity Perspective

Ron Boschma and Koen Frenken


Ron Boschma and Koen Frenken 1. Introduction The role of networks in innovation processes has become a key research area in the field of innovation studies over the last decade and a half (Freeman, 1991; Hagedoorn, 2002; Powell et al., 1996). Not surprisingly, the rapid increase in the number of studies on innovation networks in an inter-disciplinary field as innovation studies has led to a great variety of theories, concepts and methodologies (Ozman, 2009). Only recently, geographers have jumped on the empirical study of the spatial dimensions of networks in innovation processes, following the vast literature on national and regional innovation systems developed in the 1990s (Ter Wal and Boschma, 2009a). Despite this attention, network analysis is still underdeveloped in the geography of innovation. This is also true for an evolutionary approach to this topic, although attempts have been undertaken (see e.g. Giuliani, 2007; Glückler, 2007; and Chapters 16, 17, 12 and 14 in this volume by Breschi et al., Cantner and Graf, Giuliani, and Glückler). Our aim is to propose an evolutionary perspective on the geography of network formation that is firmly grounded in a dynamic proximity framework. Doing so, we link the emerging literatures on network and proximity dynamics. The study on network evolution is still in a premature phase (Powell et al., 2005), though considered crucial for the development of an evolutionary perspective on the geography of innovation networks. Following Boschma (2005), we present various forms of proximity as alternative driving forces behind network formation....

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