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2010 | nr 1 (24) | 165--190
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Spatial Proximity for Innovation Activity in Regional Industrial Systems in a Transition Country - Some Evidence from Empirical Research

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From the viewpoint of various western theoretical concepts on agglomeration economy discussed in this paper, we can notice the difficulties in their direct implementation in Polish conditions. A low level of technological development in industry and the potential of knowledge resources at regional agglomerations’ disposal do not support innovation activity in enterprises, thus spatial proximity weakens rather than improves innovativeness. A dichotomy of phenomena is observed in this case, however. On the one hand, a low potential of knowledge combined with its limited quality (in terms of its up-to-dateness and applicability) is incapable of generating a critical mass of auto-dynamism of an innovation system. On the other hand, however, the rising costs of agglomeration discourage potential investors from locating their enterprises within the boundaries of the agglomeration, especially that the solutions applied may be considered high tech on the national scale whereas according to international methodological standards they may be perceived as medium high tech instead. In industrial systems at their early phases of development, high tech solutions are usually owned by a relatively small number of enterprises, usually foreign ones. This affects a slow and limited diffusion of knowledge in regions. Enclaves of innovation have usually a one-sided rather than system character based on the synergy of events. (original abstract)
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