Small Worlds and Regional Innovation

42 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2006

See all articles by Lee Fleming

Lee Fleming

Harvard University - Technology & Operations Management Unit

Charles King

Greylock McKinnon Associates; Pleiades Consulting Group, Inc.

Adam I. Juda

Harvard Business School

Date Written: March 21, 2006

Abstract

Small world networks have attracted much theoretical attention and are widely thought to enhance creativity. Yet empirical studies of their evolution and evidence of their benefits remain scarce. Using patent co-authorship data, we explore regional small-world structures and investigate the emergence and disappearance of giant components in patent collaboration networks. We test the idea that small world structure (cohesive clusters connected by occasional non-local ties) and shorter path lengths improve innovative productivity within geographic regions. We find at best qualified evidence to support the popular consensus that small worlds enhance innovation. We then discuss the implications of our findings for small world research and regional innovation policies.

Keywords: small-world networks, innovation, regional advantage

JEL Classification: 03, D8, J1, R00

Suggested Citation

Fleming, Lee and King, Charles (Kip) and Juda, Adam I., Small Worlds and Regional Innovation (March 21, 2006). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=892871 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.892871

Lee Fleming (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Technology & Operations Management Unit ( email )

Boston, MA 02163
United States
617 495 6613 (Phone)
617 496 5265 (Fax)

Charles (Kip) King

Greylock McKinnon Associates ( email )

One Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
617-871-6900 (Phone)
617-871-6949 (Fax)

Pleiades Consulting Group, Inc. ( email )

P.O. Box 531
Lincoln, MA 01773
United States

Adam I. Juda

Harvard Business School ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
United States

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