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External Knowledge and Innovation Performance in Clusters: Empirical Evidence from the Uruguay Software Cluster

Effie Kesidou () and Chris Snijders

Industry and Innovation, 2012, vol. 19, issue 5, 437-457

Abstract: The importance of geographic proximity for innovation has been widely stressed in the cluster literature. Yet, new insights from the inter-organisational network and cluster literatures underline the role of non-local linkages in enabling firms in networks to enhance learning and to innovate. This paper contributes to this literature by examining the importance of local and non-local knowledge networks for the innovation performance of firms in clusters. Our analysis is based on primary data from a survey of 95 software firms clustered in Montevideo, Uruguay. The results highlight that the most innovative firms in clusters heavily rely on non-local knowledge networks. Moreover, the number of indirect local ties to other firms is a better predictor of innovative performance than the number of direct local ties. Finally, our findings confirm the presence of knowledge gatekeepers in clusters and emphasise their role in enhancing innovation in clusters by absorbing knowledge from extra-cluster sources and diffusing it to other local firms.

Date: 2012
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DOI: 10.1080/13662716.2012.711028

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