Inventors And The Geographical Breadth Of Knowledge Spillovers
Source: Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna
This paper studies the geographical breadth of knowledge spillovers. Previous research suggests that knowledge spillovers benefit from geographical proximity in technologically active and rich regions more than elsewhere. An alternative view explains the geographical breadth of knowledge spillovers as a function of the characteristics and personal networks of the individuals. The authors test these two competing theories by using information provided directly by the inventors of 6,750 European patents (PatVal-EU survey). The results confirm the importance of inventors' personal background. However, compared to previous research, they find that the level of education of the inventors is the key in shaping the geographical breadth of knowledge spillovers. Highly educated inventors rely more on geographically wide research networks than their less educated peers.