Technological diversification and Smart Specialisation: the role of cooperation
In this new publication in Regional Studies, Artur Santoalha investigates the role of cooperation between organizations on technological diversification. He finds that cooparation within and between regions emerges as an important determinant of regional diversification, but both forms of cooperation should evolve hand in hand- singly, each form may prove ineffective at boosting regional diversification.
Smart Specialisation is a prominent topic in the European Union (EU) regional policy landscape. However, empirical evidence underpinning the arguments is inadequate. As Smart Specialisation has been increasingly associated with diversification, or ‘diversified specialization, regional diversification offers a relevant framework for studying Smart Specialisation processes in European regions.
Regional diversification studies, using entry models, analyze the determinants that contribute to the entry of a new industrial/technological variety in a given region. This is useful for identifying factors relevant for exploring new varieties. However, such methodology provides little information on the extent to which regions are actually diversifying, and does not explain differentiated regional diversification behaviours. How good are various regions at diversifying? How can they improve it? How differentiated should regions behave, taking into account their features?
All these questions are important, as the overall capacity of a given region to diversify into new technologies may influence its innovative, industrial and economic capacity. Moreover, these questions are relevant for understanding how successful a given region is in achieving diversification within the scope of an Smart Specialisation process. This paper focuses on a specific aspect of diversification relevant to Smart Specialisation: cooperation. More specifically, it investigates whether regional cooperation between organizations, as measured by co-applications for patents, contributes to regional diversification. Moreover, it distinguishes between intra-regional cooperation (cooperation deriving from collaborative projects where all involved parts belong to the same region) and interregional cooperation (cooperation between partners that belong to different regions).