Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Papers in Innovation Studies,
Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy

No 2011/2: Comparing knowledge bases: on the organisation and geography of knowledge flows in the regional innovation system of Scania, southern Sweden

Roman Martin () and Jerker Moodysson ()
Additional contact information
Roman Martin: CIRCLE, Lund University, Postal: CIRCLE, Lund University, PO Box 117, SE-22100 Lund, Sweden
Jerker Moodysson: CIRCLE, Lund University, Postal: CIRCLE, Lund University, PO Box 117, SE-22100 Lund, Sweden

Abstract: This paper deals with knowledge flows and collaboration between firms in the regional innovation system of southern Sweden. It focuses on industries which draw on different types of knowledge bases. The aim is to analyse how the functional and spatial organisation of knowledge interdependencies among firms and other actors vary between different types of industries which are part of the same regional innovation system. We argue that knowledge sourcing and exchange in geographical proximity is especially important for industries that rely on a synthetic or symbolic knowledge base, since the interpretation of the knowledge they deal with tend to differ between places. This is less the case for industries drawing on an analytical knowledge base, which rely more on scientific knowledge that is codified, abstract and universal, and therefore less sensitive to geographical distance. Thus, geographic clustering of firms in analytical industries builds on other rationale than the need of proximity for knowledge sourcing and exchange. To analyse these assumptions empirically, we draw on data from three case studies of firm clusters in the region of southern Sweden: (1) the life science cluster represents an analytical (science) based industry, (2) the food cluster includes mainly synthetic (engineering) based industries, and (3) the moving media cluster is considered as symbolic (artistic) based. Knowledge sourcing and knowledge exchange in each of the cases are explored and compared using social network analysis in association with a dataset gathered through interviews with firm representatives.

Keywords: knowledge bases; life science; food cluster; moving media; Sweden

JEL-codes: O32

40 pages, April 11, 2011

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