Knowledge networks in the Dutch aviation industry: the proximity paradox

Utrecht University, Section of Economic Geography, Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 01/2009;
Source: RePEc

ABSTRACT The importance of geographical proximity for interaction and knowledge sharing has been discussed extensively in economic geography in recent years. There is increasing consensus that it is just one out of many types of proximities that might be relevant. We argue that proximity may be a crucial driver for agents to connect and exchange knowledge, but too much proximity between these agents on any of the dimensions might harm their innovative performance at the same time. In a study on knowledge networks in the Dutch aviation industry, we test this so-called proximity paradox empirically. We find evidence that the proximity paradox holds to some degree. Our study clearly shows that cognitive, social and geographical proximity are crucial for explaining the knowledge network of the Dutch aviation industry. But while it takes cognitive, social and geographical proximity to exchange knowledge, we found evidence that proximity lowers firms's innovative performance, but only in the cognitive dimension.

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