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Methodological Issues in Measuring Innovation Performance of Spatial Units

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The innovation performance of regions or nations has been repeatedly measured in the literature. What is missing, however, is a discussion of what innovation performance of a region or nation means. How do regions or nations exactly contribute to the innovation output of firms? And how can this contribution be investigated in an empirically sound way? We argue that while the literature offers many suggestions, their theoretical foundation is often weak and the underlying assumptions are rarely discussed. In this paper, we systematize various mechanisms by which spatial units influence firms' innovation activities. On the basis of this, common innovation performance measures and analyses are discussed and evaluated. It is concluded that there is no general best way of measuring the innovation performance of spatial units. In fact, the most interesting insights can be obtained using a multitude of different approaches at the same time.
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Keywords: Innovation performance; innovation generation; national innovation system; regional innovation system; regional innovativeness

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Geography, Philipps University Marburg, Marburg, Germany 2: Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands

Publication date: 01 January 2011

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