Knowledge, Innovation and Space
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Knowledge, Innovation and Space

Edited by Charlie Karlsson, Börje Johansson, Kiyoshi Kobayashi and Roger R. Stough

The contributions in this volume extend our understanding about the different ways distance impacts the knowledge conversion process. Knowledge itself is a raw input into the innovation process which can then transform it into an economically useful output such as prototypes, patents, licences and new companies. New knowledge is often tacit and thus tends to be highly localized, as indeed is the conversion process. Consequently, as the book demonstrates, space or distance matter significantly in the transformation of raw knowledge into beneficial knowledge.
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Chapter 3: Accessibility to R & D: a re-examination of the consequences for invention and innovation

Olof Ejermo and Urban Gråsjö


Innovation and inventive activity have been analysed in a large number of studies, but they do not easily lend themselves to geographical study as they are not easily quantified. Quantitative studies of spatial innovation have given specific attention to two aspects. First, the distribution of innovation has been examined. It is a well-known fact that innovation tends to be more concentrated than production. Second, knowledge activities have public-good properties in the sense that the effects spill over to others (Geroski, 1995). Knowledge spillovers may thus only imperfectly be appropriated by their producers and hence tend to diffuse and be used by others. Investments into new knowledge, for instance research and development (R & D), may therefore yield results which are not bound to the local region, and hence the organization and incentive for knowledge investment may not coincide with the resulting effects. From a policy point of view, the question of whether (for example) public R & D investment has mainly local effects or whether it works complementarily to private R & D becomes an important issue for the coordination of policy efforts. Research in the policy area has concerned the spatial reach of spillover and the sets of industries it spills over to, and whether the effects from private or public R & D differ. This research has, following the distinction in the survey by Doring and Schnellenbach (2006), proceeded along two tracks.

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