Research Clustering, Co-Patenting Networks and the Growth of Regions
1. Innovative Places in Europe
1.1. Introduction and Motivation Regional disparities and the processes of regional divergence and spatial clustering are ubiquitous in today’s world. Researchers frequently point to the emergence and existence of dense urban areas and systems of cities around the globe (Krugman, 2009; Desmet and Rossi-Hansberg, 2010; Henderson, 2010).1 They discuss the nature of the emergence and growth of metropolises, megalopolises and large core cities along seaboards and rivers, which are connected to large industrial belts (Acs, 2002; Fujita and Krugman, 2003; Combes and Overman, 2004).2 Accordingly, the spatial clustering of production and employment is ubiquitous in regions across the world and is considered to be only partially dependent on physical geography. Hinloopen and van Marrewijk (2004) reported an uneven distribution, irrespective of the kind of activity or level of economic and regional aggregation.3 In the same vein, Krugman (1992, 5) has argued: “Step back and ask, what is the most striking feature of the geography of economic activity? The short answer is surely concentration [...] production is remarkably concentrated in space.” Once a core of economic activity has been established, be it a large city or an agglomerated region, it increases in overall size and processes of self-reinforcement increase its importance due to centripetal (agglomerative) forces and cumulative circular causation (Duranton and Puga, 2004; Combes et al., 2008). Accordingly, the propensity of economic clustering can be observed on many spatial levels: the spread of blocks and downtown areas of metropolises; the formation of megalopolises; core-periphery structures at the regional level;...
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