Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

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

No 2013/13: System Failures, Knowledge Bases and Regional Innovation Policies

Roman Martin () and Michaela Trippl ()
Additional contact information
Roman Martin: CIRCLE, Lund University, Postal: CIRCLE, Lund University, PO Box 117, SE-22100 Lund, Sweden
Michaela Trippl: Department of Human Geography and CIRCLE, Lund University, Postal: CIRCLE, Lund University, PO Box 117, SE-22100 Lund, Sweden

Abstract: Regional innovation strategies rank on the top of public policy agendas today. There is a widespread consensus in both academic and policy circles that standardised “best practice” innovation policy models suffer from severe limitations and major shortcomings. The recent literature is replete with claims that regional innovation policies should be place-based and context-sensitive, taking into consideration the specificities of regions and their distinctive preconditions and capacities for innovation. Various conceptual approaches and theories support such a view. This paper discusses two concepts, which have a particularly strong potential for informing a differentiated regional innovation policy approach; the regional innovation system (RIS) theory and the knowledge base concept. The RIS literature highlights the importance of the organisational and institutional setting of a region and suggests that system deficiencies or failures should constitute the starting point for designing regional innovation policies. The differentiated knowledge base approach stresses that regional industries differ strongly in the underlying knowledge bases and, as a consequence, in their policy needs. We elaborate on the policy implications that originate from these concepts and argue that tailor-made regional innovation policies should consider both region-specific institutional set-ups and knowledge bases.

Keywords: regional innovation policy; regional innovation system; differentiated knowledge bases

JEL-codes: L52; O21; O25; R11; R58

13 pages, April 18, 2013

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