Microeconomic determinants of regional knowledge recombination and novelty

Session organizers:

Anne Plunket (anne.plunket@univ-lorraine.fr)


There is increasing interest in the role of breakthrough or radical innovations for sustained economic growth (Kerr, 2010; Castaldi et al. 2015). The empirical evidence shows that these radical innovations result from an evolutionary recombinant process which builds on existing variety of knowledge and artefacts. A number of papers have contributed to explain some of the micro-determinants of knowledge recombination at the individual, patent or firm level (e.g. Fleming et al. 2007; Carnabuci and Operti, 2013; Arts and Veugelers, 2015). Among the main determinants of knowledge recombination, these papers emphasize the role of network embeddedness and collaborative brokerage, knowledge diversity but also external linkages and openness.   Despite a large number of papers on regional knowledge renewal and technological diversity, very little evidence are provided regarding their micro-economic determinants (Content and Frenken, 2015; Boschma, 2016): Who are the local actors (firms, individuals, inventors teams…) at the origin of regional knowledge renewal and novelty.

How are they organized? To what extend do they rely on their own knowledge base or knowledge acquired from outside their organizational boundaries or their regional boundaries. Breschi and Lenzi (2015) for example show that regional knowledge renewal relies mainly on external linkages and to a lesser extent on knowledge gatekeepers.  This session aims to bring together scholars working on knowledge recombination and novelty with a microeconomic perspective. This session welcomes theoretical, empirical and methodological studies focusing on the micro determinants of regional knowledge recombination and novelty.  Possible topics include: The role of individual and/or firm positions within regional networks and their capacity to generate novelty.

The type of organizations and their capacity to produce knowledge recombination and novelty: large incumbents, start-ups, universities, SMEs The types of individuals such as star scientists, central inventors or relational stars The respective role of external linkages for knowledge recombination The distance between individual/firms knowledge base and local or external knowledge, etc.