Proximity and the Management of Innovation
58 Pages Posted: 4 Jun 2020 Last revised: 3 Jan 2022
Date Written: May 19, 2020
We study the effect of proximity to corporate headquarters on the productivity of inventors and research and development (R&D) facilities. Distant inventors and R&D facilities are less productive, and plausibly exogenous reductions in the travel time from these inventors or facilities to headquarters increases their productivity and creativity. We hypothesize that these improvements in the management of innovation production occur because proximity improves monitoring, managerial ability to provide direction, relationship building that supports creativity, and information exchange, including advice from headquarters. Consequently, our results suggest that proximity can help managers balance both exploration and exploitation when overseeing innovation. Naturally, these results then beg the question of why firms do not locate all inventors and R&D facilities in close proximity to headquarters. We find that distant inventors and R&D facilities are located in areas with better general economic indicators, and especially more favorable tax rates, than headquarters, suggesting firms balance these benefits against the benefits of proximity when locating innovation production.
Keywords: Proximity, location, innovation, inventors, management, empirical operations, creativity, taxation
JEL Classification: O31, O32, M12
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation