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Philip McCann and Raquel Ortega-Argilés

The chapter reviews the literature on the nature, role and links between R & D, innovation and productivity. The authors examine innovation from the perspective of the resource-based view of the firm, and discuss how non-spatial approaches explain the ways in which the characteristics of knowledge and technological regimes shape the evolution of the firm’s innovative behaviour. The analysis then moves on to set the insights of these non-geographical approaches squarely in the context of economic geography allowing for a discussion on the spatial effects of the prevailing technological regimes on urban and regional economic systems.

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Björn T. Asheim, Markus Grillitsch and Michaela Trippl

Since its development in the 1990s, the Regional Innovation Systems (RIS) approach has attracted considerable attention from economic geographers, innovation scholars and policy makers. The RIS approach figures prominently in the scientific discourse about the uneven geography of innovation and the factors that shape the knowledge generation and innovation capacities of regions. The aim of the chapter is to reflect on the emergence of the RIS approach, the current debate as well as future challenges. This chapter is guided by four overarching research questions: What are the origins and theoretical foundations of this approach? What has the RIS approach contributed to innovation studies and economic geography? What are the implications for innovation policy? And what are the recent lines of research and key research challenges in the future? The authors argue that the contributions of the RIS approach have been substantial. Still, the approach has often been applied in a rather static way, more as a heuristic than a coherent theory. The key challenges for current and future research therefore are to move towards a more theory-based, dynamic perspective on RIS, dealing with new path development and the transformation of RIS.

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Pierre-Alexandre Balland

Scholars and policy makers consider knowledge accumulation a major driver of growth and regional development. During the past two decades, the geography of innovation literature has provided a rich and detailed account of the underlying processes of regional knowledge production. More recently, a growing body of empirical literature has analysed the specific knowledge bases of regions and their evolution over time. The aim of these studies is not to explain why some regions produce more knowledge outputs than others, but why some regions produce a specific type of knowledge. The author refers to this body of literature as the relatedness literature. In the chapter the author discusses the theoretical foundations of this literature, its methodological framework and recent empirical findings. Based on evolutionary thinking, the spatial dynamics of knowledge are understood as a cumulative, path-dependent and interactive process. As a result, a main driving force is relatedness, as new knowledge is expected to branch out from related, pre-existing knowledge. Empirically, relatedness has mainly been formalized as a network, the knowledge space. In this network, nodes are knowledge categories, such as technological classes or scientific fields, and the links between these knowledge types indicate their degree of relatedness. The empirical analysis of relatedness and the knowledge space allows the mapping of regions’ knowledge bases, explaining scientific and technological change and identifying further opportunities for recombination and innovation. After having reviewed the empirics on knowledge space, the author discusses implications for research and innovation policy and suggests some avenues for future research.

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Elvira Uyarra and Kieron Flanagan

An extensive literature exists on regional innovation and knowledge-driven economic development, much of it claiming to be prescriptive. Yet attempts to translate insights from this literature into effective policies have met with mixed success. We identify some shortcomings in how much of this literature conceptualises policy and argue that a richer understanding of how real policy processes play out in the development of real places is a prerequisite for making more realistic and potentially effective prescriptions in the future, with particular emphasis on agency, institutional change, and multi-level, multi-actor dynamics.

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Alison Bain

Cities around the world have become intensely suburbanized. Several decades of profound demographic growth and urban restructuring have rapidly transformed the morphology and use of suburbs; yet, as the chapter argues, urban cultural policy and planning have inadequately grappled with this suburban structural and cultural complexity. Since the closing decades of the twentieth century, a fast-policy model of neoliberal cultural urbanism has been internationally deployed that targets the central city as the key site of creativity and innovation to the neglect of the suburbs. Such culture-led, amenity-driven urban revitalization strategies are formulated to secure competitive advantage by prioritizing the clustering of cultural and creative industries in the inner-city as a way to foster innovation and the symbolic dimensions of creative cities. The chapter reveals that what is often lost on policymakers in this paradigm of prescriptive creative urban policy are the socio-spatial divisions that are accentuated between city and suburb and between haves and have-nots.

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Andrés Rodríguez-Pose and Callum Wilkie

According to prevailing theories of agglomeration, location and innovation, innovative capacity and innovative activity are predisposed to concentrating in the ‘economic cores’ of the world. This would ultimately result in the emergence of a geography of innovation characterized by spatial imbalances and a distinct ‘urban’ or ‘city bias’. Some empirical evidence from both the developed and developing world would seem to validate this expectation – many core cities host a disproportionately large amount of innovative activity. There is also, however, growing empirical evidence indicating that spatial patterns of innovation are evolving and that, as a consequence, a more nuanced view of the geography of innovation would be necessary. The aim of the chapter is to explore the subtly evolving geography of innovation from both a theoretical perspective as well as an empirical one. More specifically, the chapter reviews the various theories that predict the concentration of innovation in large, core cities by exploring, using patent data, the spatial patterns of innovation in five developed and emerging countries. The chapter provides first order insights into the way in which the global geography of innovation is changing, and offers an interpretation and explanation for this evolving geography of innovation that feeds directly into a discussion of the policy implications associated with the gradual spatial dispersion of knowledge-intensive, innovative activity.

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Richard Shearmur

Innovation policy has become a mainstay of local and regional development policy because it is believed that innovative local firms will lead to local employment and income growth. Whilst it is unlikely that a locality and region will develop without local firms being innovative, the reverse does not hold: it is possible, and indeed feasible, that many smaller localities and regions harbour innovative firms without benefiting from the growth that they induce. In the chapter the author explores the reasons why it is believed that local innovation will lead to local growth, and then outlines why this belief is erroneous: innovation in local firms can lead to employment decline (in specialized regions where labour-saving technologies are developed), and local innovators are often being bought-up or compelled to open offices and production facilities in larger and more central places if their localities do not provide the resources necessary for expansion and growth.

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David E. McNabb

Chapter 4 is an introduction to the electric power sector of the utility industry. The electric power industry is made up of a number of different participants, the majority of which are investor owned. At the most basic level, the segments can be grouped into two broad categories: buyers and sellers. Buyers of power are divided into three classes: residential, commercial, and industrial. On the seller side are five main types of organizations: investor-owned utilities, publicly owned energy utilities, rural electric cooperatives, federally owned utilities, and independent power producers. In 2015, investor-owned utilities supplied electricity to 68.4 percent of the total number of customers U.S. generating capacity and were responsible for 74 percent of all retail sales of electricity. Publicly owned utilities include municipal utilities, public power districts, irrigation districts, and rural electric cooperatives.
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David E. McNabb

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Daniel Silander and Charlotte Silander

Using social science and economics perspectives, the goal of this study is to complement the dominant business administration research on entrepreneurship by increasing our knowledge about the economic-political context in which entrepreneurship and private enterprise are conducted. This book explores the role of political entrepreneurs for regional growth and entrepreneurial diversity in Sweden. We define a political entrepreneur as a politician/bureaucrat/officer/department within the publicly funded sector who with innovative approaches encourages entrepreneurship/business and where the goals are growth, employment and the common good. The approach of this book is to enrich the established research on entrepreneurship with in-depth knowledge of the conditions for entrepreneurship in Sweden. The main focus of study is the role that the political entrepreneur might play in promoting entrepreneurship, enterprise and entrepreneurial diversity in the Swedish economy.