Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Papers in Innovation Studies,
Lund University, CIRCLE - Centre for Innovation Research

No 2013/18: Substitution or overlap? The relations between geographical and non-spatial proximity dimensions in collaborative innovation projects

Teis Hansen ()
Additional contact information
Teis Hansen: CIRCLE, Lund University, Postal: CIRCLE, Lund University, PO Box 117, SE-22100 Lund, Sweden

Abstract: Traditionally, economic geographers stress geographical proximity’s positive impact on collaboration processes. Recently, effects of cognitive, organisational, social and institutional proximity dimensions have been emphasised. This paper examines the relations between geography and these non-spatial dimensions by distinguishing two mechanisms: the substitution mechanism, where non-spatial forms of proximity substitute for geographical proximity, and the overlap mechanism, where geographical proximity facilitates non-spatial proximity. The two mechanisms’ importance is analysed in collaborative innovation projects in the Danish cleantech industry. Regression models are complemented by a qualitative analysis of the relationship between the geographical and institutional dimensions, which is the only relation where the substitution mechanism is of little importance.

Keywords: Proximity; cleantech; collaboration; knowledge linkages; innovation

JEL-codes: L69; O31; R11

29 pages, May 10, 2013

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