Edited by Philip Cooke, Bjørn Asheim, Ron Boschma, Ron Martin, Dafna Schwartz and Franz Tödtling
Martin Heidenreich and Knut Koschatzky Economic regions can be an efficient way of organizing distributed innovation processes which require the development, accumulation and recombination of heterogeneous knowledge under conditions of economic, technical and scientific uncertainties. These advantages have been explained by transaction cost savings; by the private or public provision of products, services and qualifications that fit the specific needs of the regional companies; by the opportunity to establish and stabilize interaction-based trust relationships; or by learning advantages, because spatial proximity is supposed to facilitate the exchange of implicit, experience-based, uncodified knowledge and the recombination of previous knowledge (Scott, 1998; Cooke, 2002a). Regional institutions play a crucial role for these advantages, because they may contribute to the provision of ‘local collective competition goods’ (for example qualified employees, research and development services, technology transfer, reliable legal or technological norms, information on new markets and technologies, consultancy and other ‘real services’; see Le Galès and Voelzkow, 2001). Regional governance structures, composed of: ‘a control and regulatory structure that brings governmental and societal actors together, has both formal and informal levels, and is characterised by hierarchical, competitive, and cooperative inter-actor relations’ (Benz, 2001), are therefore crucial for the innovative capabilities of a region. In the following, we will discuss first this concept of regional (innovation) governance, then the role of regional governance structures in different theoretical approaches, and finally the link between regional policy, regional learning and regional governance structures. THE CONCEPT OF REGIONAL INNOVATION GOVERNANCE AND ITS IMPLICATIONS Governance The theoretical...
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