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Innovation, agglomeration and regional development

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This paper provides a critical examination of the widely disseminated view that innovation in all or most activities is favoured by certain common characteristics in the local ‘milieu’, involving a cluster of many small firms benefiting from flexible inter-firm alliances, supported by mutual information exchanges of both an informal and formal nature. The general applicability of this model, and the localness of crucial linkages, is questioned initially on the basis of a review of different hypotheses about the geography of innovation. Moreover, examination of new survey evidence from a large number of firms in the London conurbation suggests that the importance of specifically local informal information spillovers for successful innovation is very much more limited than has been suggested, as are the supposed advantages of firm smallness.

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en

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/16826/

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