Economics at your fingertips  

Do only big cities innovate?: technological maturity and the location of innovation

Michael Orlando () and Michael Verba

Economic Review, 2005, issue Q II, No v.90, no.2, 57 pages

Abstract: Innovation enhances economic performance. High rates of innovation are associated with high rates of productivity growth, and faster productivity growth leads to higher real wages and improvements in standards of living. Consequently, many local policymakers are eager to encourage higher rates of innovation in their areas. Theoretical and empirical studies of the geography of innovation find that relatively populous regions are the most conducive to innovative activity. Large and densely populated places offer more developed markets for the specialized inputs used in innovation. Populous places also offer innovators greater opportunities to learn from one another. On the surface, these findings seem to offer little hope to smaller, more sparsely populated regions—places that would like to compete for innovative activity and the benefits of a knowledge economy. Are large populations a prerequisite for innovation? Orlando and Verba explore this common perception and find it is not always true. More populous regions dominate in relatively new technological fields, where innovations are more original. But less populous regions can compete in relatively mature technological fields, where innovations are more incremental. This finding should be of interest to research and development professionals—and to policymakers who are seeking ways to enhance regional innovative activity.

Keywords: Cities; and; towns (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2005
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (11) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link) (application/pdf)

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

Ordering information: This journal article can be ordered from

Access Statistics for this article

More articles in Economic Review from Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City One Memorial Drive, Kansas City, MO 64198. Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by LDayrit ().

Page updated 2019-12-05
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedker:y:2005:i:qii:p:31-57:n:v.90no.2