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Cognition, learning and European regional growth: An agent-centred perspective on the "new" economy

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Quintessentially a US phenomenon, the information and knowledge economy (IKE) combines regional clusters of innovation with new and sophisticated forms of intellectual and finance capital. For those European economies struggling to adjust to global competition, the IKE is seen as the panacea. It is regarded as a proven recipe for all places and sectors, with the potential to remedy structural weaknesses that have become ever more apparent in a world subject to globalisation, increased international competition, and technological change. We suggest an agent-centred perspective for understanding economic systems and behaviour that stresses the significance of cognition and learning for innovation while making the connection between organizations and their environments. We argue that the IKE, as represented by regions such as Silicon Valley and Route 128/495 Boston, is complex and multi-faceted and cannot be transposed easily between cultures. Finally, we draw together the implications of our approach for European regional development.

Keywords: Cognition; European regional development; Information and knowledge economy; Innovation; Learning

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: University of Cambridge Judge Institute of Management Trumpington St Cambridge United Kingdom CB2 1AG 2: University of Oxford School of Geography and the Environment and the Saïd Business School Mansfield Rd Oxford United Kingdom OX1 3TB 3: University of Coventry Centre for Local Economic Development Priory St Coventry United Kingdom CV1 5FB

Publication date: 2004-01-01

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