How Knowledge Connectivity Affects Global Innovation Divergence Across Major Cities

Authors: John Cantwell*, Rutgers University - Newark, NJ
Topics: Economic Geography
Keywords: Knowledge Connectivity, Interregional Inequality
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Calvert Room, Omni, East
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In our earlier paper, Cantwell and Zaman (2018), we explored differences in technological knowledge sourcing patterns for 33 large and innovative city regions from around the world, which cities have high levels of patenting. We found that patent citations representing both trans-local and local knowledge sourcing increased across all the cities in our dataset. We also found that trans-local knowledge connections positively impact local knowledge networking in all our cities, although the intensity of this impact varies. This finding supports the contention of economic geographers (Uzzi, 1997; Bramanti and Ratti, 1997; Maillat 1998; Scott 1998; Bresnahan et al 2001; Bathelt, 2007) that it is advantageous to combine ‘local buzz’ (Storper and Venables, 2004) with ‘global pipelines’ (Bathelt et al., 2004) to boost the innovativeness of a region. In further exploring the changing geography of knowledge connections (Zaman, 2018), we have found that highly innovative cities tend to be more internationally connected than others, and the complementarity of trans-local and local connections in these cities is greater than in less innovative cities. This suggests an increasing inter-regional inequality in innovative dynamism between metropolitan areas globally, and within countries. While intra-regional inequality is likely to fall within the more innovative cities as local capabilities become more dispersed, these urban areas may be less well connected to non-urban areas in the same country, which would imply greater national inter-regional inequality. We interpret the growing divergence in the innovative potential of cities as related to differences in the geographic patterns of their knowledge connections.

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