The Geography of Unconventional Innovation

57 Pages Posted: 22 Jul 2019

See all articles by Enrico Berkes

Enrico Berkes

Ohio State University (OSU) - Department of Economics

Ruben Gaetani

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management

Date Written: July 19, 2019

Abstract

Using a newly assembled dataset of U.S. patents, we show that overall innovation activity is less concentrated in high-density urban areas than commonly believed, but inventions based on atypical combinations of knowledge are indeed more prevalent in high-density cities. To interpret this relation, we propose that informal interactions in densely populated areas help knowledge flows between distant fields, but are less relevant for flows between close fields. We build a model of innovation in a spatial economy that endogenously generates the pattern observed in the data: specialized clusters emerge in low-density areas, whereas high-density cities diversify and produce unconventional ideas.

JEL Classification: O33, O40, R11, R12

Suggested Citation

Berkes, Enrico and Gaetani, Ruben, The Geography of Unconventional Innovation (July 19, 2019). Rotman School of Management Working Paper No. 3423143. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3423143 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3423143

Enrico Berkes

Ohio State University (OSU) - Department of Economics ( email )

United States

Ruben Gaetani (Contact Author)

University of Toronto - Rotman School of Management ( email )

105 St. George Street
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3E6 M5S1S4
Canada

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