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Global networks, local specialisation and regional patterns of innovation

Andrea Ascani (), Luca Bettarelli, Laura Resmini and Pierre-Alexandre Balland

No 2002, Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) from Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography

Abstract: A large academic consensus exists on the idea that successful innovative processes are geographically bounded within regions. Nevertheless, the ability of regions to capture and re-use external knowledge is also regarded as a fundamental element to sustain and refine the local profile of specialisation and competitiveness. The present article combines these views to investigate the sources of the regional innovation process, by analysing data on Italian regions over the period 2007-2012. We define regional external networks based on all the foreign subsidiaries of local multinational enterprises identifiable as global ultimate owners. Our main results suggest that both the internal specialisation and the outward networks can generate indigenous innovation, but the role of the networks varies substantially according to its density, its degree of complementarity with the specialisation profile, its geographical spread and the specific location of the foreign subsidiaries. Our results, then, support a view of the regional innovation as an interactive process whereby valuable knowledge resources are not only generated within the reach of the local economy, but they are also integrated with external inputs. This contrasts with recent anti-globalisation views according to which the increase in the foreign operations of national companies impoverishes the local economy.

Keywords: outward foreign direct investment; innovation; specialisation; networks; relatedness (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O3 F23 R10 F60 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020-01, Revised 2020-01
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cse, nep-geo, nep-ino, nep-int, nep-net, nep-sbm and nep-ure
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