Knowledge Complexity

Session organizers:

Pierre-Alexandre Balland (p.balland@uu.nl), Tom Broekel (t.broekel@uu.nl), David Rigby (rigby@geog.ucla.edu)


Recent literature in economic geography, innovation studies, and complex systems is increasingly referring to the concept of knowledge complexity when explaining the growth of regions and the spatial distribution of innovative activities. Although knowledge complexity is a promising concept and may help for understanding key issues in the geography of knowledge and innovation, it is still understood and empirically measured in various ways. This special session invites scholars from different disciplines to exchange their perspectives on the concept of knowledge complexity, on its empirical measurement and on identifying its relevance. The session particularly welcomes theoretical and empirical papers relating to the following questions:


– What is knowledge complexity?

– How can knowledge complexity be measured?

– How does the geography of complex knowledge looks like and how does it evolve over time?

– How do knowledge diffusion and knowledge complexity relate to each other?

– What is the impact of FDI, migration, and institutions on the development of knowledge complexity?

– What is the relation between agglomeration externalities and knowledge complexity?

– What is the relationship between complex knowledge and localized knowledge spillovers?

– How does complex knowledge impact competitiveness and regional growth?

– What is the impact of technological progress (increasing knowledge complexity) on spatial inequality and income inequality?

– How can the concept of knowledge complexity contribute to the design of innovation policy (i.e. cluster policy, smart specialization strategy…)?