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Are regional systems greening the economy? Local spillovers, green innovations and firms’ economic performances

Davide Antonioli (), Simone Borghesi () and Massimiliano Mazzanti ()

Economics of Innovation and New Technology, 2016, vol. 25, issue 7, 692-713

Abstract: The adoption and diffusion of environmental innovations (EIs) is crucial to greening the economy and achieving win–win environmental/economic gains. A large and increasing literature has focused on the levers underlying EIs that are external to the firm, such as stakeholder and policy pressures. Little attention, however, has been devoted to the possible role of local spillovers of a sector/geographical nature as a factor that correlates with EIs and economic performances. A rich data set that covers the innovative activities and economic performances of firms in the Emilia-Romagna region in Italy, an area dense in manufacturing districts, is analysed. EIs’ drivers and effects on firms’ performance are investigated through a two-step procedure. First, we examine the relevance of spatial levers, namely, whether high rates of eco-innovators in a given local area induce the adoption of EIs in firms located in the same local area. The role of the ‘agglomeration lever’ turns out to be fairly local in nature: we find that spillovers are significantly inducing innovation within municipal boundaries. Second, we test whether EIs adoptions have significantly increased firms’ economic performances and find that some firms’ productivity performances are positively related to EI adoption.

Date: 2016
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