The effect of Knowledge Connectivity on Convergence or Divergence of Global Innovation across Major Cities

Authors: Salma Zaman*, Lahore University of Management Sciences, John Cantwell, Rutgers University
Topics: Economic Geography
Keywords: innovation, knowledge flows, city-regions
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/8/2021
Start / End Time: 1:30 PM / 2:45 PM
Room: Virtual 35
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In our earlier paper, Cantwell and Zaman (2018), we explored differences in technological knowledge sourcing patterns for 33 large city regions, with high levels of patenting, from around the world. We found that patent citations representing both trans-local and local knowledge sourcing increased across all cities in our dataset. We also found that trans-local knowledge connections positively impact local knowledge networking in our cities, although the intensity of this impact varies. In further exploring the changing geography of knowledge connections now across 62 leading cities internationally, 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.
In this study we find that while these effects have reinforced the divergence of innovation performance across cities in North America and Europe, there is some evidence of convergence across cities at a global level. This is attributable to a improvement in both local and trans-local knowledge connections and in innovation performance in certain Asian cities. We provide some statistical analysis of these trends, and their implications.
In this paper we further examine the association between local and trans-local knowledge connections and in city innovation performance, considering also whether city specialization plays a role in the divergent innovation performance of urban areas and their capacity to connect local knowledge networks to global knowledge networks. Our findings suggest an increasing inter-regional inequality in innovative dynamism between metropolitan areas globally, and within countries.

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