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Table 4 Geographical reach of transfer activities (by industry sector)

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In comparison with most of the studies cited in chapter 2 and 3 our data reveal a higher geographical concentration of the cooperation activities within the local level, i.e. the region of Jena. This might result out of the broad range of industry sectors we included in our analysis. To check this we separately look for the geographical reach of collaboration of the manufacturing and service sectors (see table 4). Services possess a slightly higher percentage of local and national cooperations, while manufacturing enterprises cooperate more than twice as much on the international level. Focusing on the high-tech sectors, e.g. optics, reveals a considerably different pattern. High-tech industries exhibit a more accentuated distance paradox on the one hand and more international collaborations on the other hand.

Different types of collaboration go in hand with different forms of innovation. Thus, we verify the relations between the importance of different forms of innovation activities and spatial reach of collaboration. The results of the descriptive analyses are shown in table 5.

All of the firms ascribing high importance to one of the four types of innovation tend to possess fewer cooperation partners at the regional level. In addition, as to product and process innovations these firms exhibit more international collaboration activities.

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To sum up, the descriptive analyses reveal a heterogeneous distribution of geographical reach of collaboration. In comparison to other empirical studies of spatial reach a strong local orientation emerges, accompanied in most cases by a distance paradox with regard to the regional level of collaboration. In addition, the international level always turns out to play a clear less important role. The latter is true as to the other regions at hand but also as to the outcomes of other empirical studies. These two findings of a strong local and a weak international reach are almost independent of first the industries or sectors and second the form of innovation. But the data also indicate that the types of collaboration, the forms of innovation and the industry under scrutiny influence the geographical reach of collaboration.

The very different empirical approaches and outcomes summarized in chapter 2 and 3 point to a complex relationship of innovation and regional reach of collaboration and besides reveal a number of other factors that might influence this relationship. Hence the necessity to add a multivariate approach. In this respect we use a binary-choice model distinguishing less important (coded 0) and very important (coded 1) innovations.

We rely on four logistic regression models – one for each of the forms of innovation.

We focus our analysis on factors influencing innovation. So innovation is our dependent variable. As to the factors relevant for innovation we concentrate on spatial distance of collaboration (measured by LOCAL, REGIO and NATIO - INTER is used as reference group). Furthermore we implement several control variables described in section 3 (see table 2).

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Looking at the statistics of the logistic regressions all four models have a relative high model chi-square (omnibus test) and correspondingly are significant on the 1 % level.

Nagelkerkes R2 presented for each model as a pseudo R-square value has to be interpreted with caution but a value above 20 % indicates an acceptable level of explanation. The same caveat and conclusion applies as to the hit ratios (percentage of correctly classified cases) ranging from 70.4 % to 80.5 %. Finally, the HosmerLemeshow-statistic tests the null hypothesis of no significant difference of predicted and observed classifications. For all four regressions the null cannot be rejected. Thus, the statistics point out that all four models fit the data adequately and allow an economic interpretation.

Our central question refers to the influence of the geographic reach of collaboration on the innovation at the firm level. Here the outcome is clear cut. There is no influence of local, regional and national cooperation in comparison to international cooperation. The single exception is the product innovation model. In this case cooperative relationships within the same federal state, i.e. REGIO, turn out to have a significant (but only at the 10% level) and negative influence on the probability of the development of process innovations.

This result of a missing influence of the geographical reach of collaboration is very robust with regard to various specifications of the binary response model. It holds as to other geographical reference groups as well as other definitions of the geographical variables. We also included more detailed industry sectors as well as some additional control variables, e.g. incentives for innovation at the firm level, control for non-linear relationships and test for several interaction effects, e.g. sector specific influences of inhouse development, or interdependencies between our geographic variables and percentage of graduates. However there were no reliable relationships with our dependent variables.

Furthermore, the use of an ordered logit regression does not change our findings. This estimation method seems appropriate, given the ordered scale of the dependent variable with a range from “0 – not important” to “5 – very important”.

For the development of product and process innovations new to the market completely new knowledge is important, so that collaborative links to universities or research institutes are of high importance. In fact, cooperation with scientific partners positively

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affects the importance of product and process innovations (significant at the 5% and 1% level). This result confirms the findings of a lot of other empirical studies. In comparison marketing and organizational innovations does not depend on scientific partners but are influenced by the openness of a firm measured by the number of transfer partners.

A significant effect of the firm size could only be confirmed for the process innovation model. In accordance with Kuemmerle (1998) and Chang et al. (2006) we detect a weak evidence (significance level 10%) for an “inverted-U” pattern between the firm size and the innovative behavior.

Looking at all the four categories of innovation one variable always has a significant and positive influence. The degree of competition turns out to be of general importance. This corroborates our hypotheses that the determinants of innovative behavior have to be analyzed on the firm level because intensity of competition as the main driver of innovation cannot be measured at the macro-level. In addition, strategic management objectives are relevant: Quality leadership has a significant positive influence on marketing and organizational innovations. This finding confirms the idea that improvements in the product quality require the implementation of adequate management approaches.

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Our paper deals with the relationships between different types of innovation and collaboration, given the varying geographical distance of the latter. Based on a survey at the firm level we incorporate a broad range of control variables, which were not accounted for by other comparable studies at the regional level. Nevertheless, given the contradicting results of theoretical reasoning and existing empirical outcomes our analysis has an exploratory character.

To sum up the descriptive analyses, we reveal a heterogeneous distribution of geographical reach of collaboration. Cooperation activities can be characterized by a strong local orientation, hardly important international links and a pattern called distance paradox. The expression distance paradox refers to the fact, that there is first no smooth decline with increasing spatial distance and second no uniform spatial distribution of collaboration activities. To the contrary, a clear dip at the regional distance level emerges.

All of the firms ascribing high importance to one of the four types of innovation tend to possess fewer cooperation partners at the regional level. In addition, as to product and process innovations these firms exhibit more international collaboration activities.

Comparing firms with a high respectively low relevance of product innovations we observe the most obvious differences.

The main finding is that the results show no influence of the geographical variables. But we confirm a significant and positive influence of the intensity of competition in all models. This aspect underlines the importance of an existing competitive pressure within a market for the innovation performance of SME. Moreover it corroborates the relevance of an analysis of this issue not on the macro-level (regional level), but on the firm level (micro-level). In particular, two different patterns could be identified by the regression results: On one hand, product- and process innovations of SME depend on cooperative activities with scientific institutions. On the other hand, the results show that especially marketing- and organizational innovations are generated by firms with a wide variety of cooperation partners and by firms whose strategy focuses on quality leadership. Therefore, strategic management decisions play also an important role for the innovation performance.

Projekt KompNet2011 Erfolgsfaktoren regionaler Innovationsnetze As to the econometrics other approaches and extensions are possible. A two part (i.e.

hurdle) model allows to distinguish the innovators and non-innovators in a first step and to explain the innovators´ behavior in a second step. Thus, allowing for dissimilar effects of the explanatory variables in the first and second step.

The possibility of the endogeneity of collaboration is a second point of concern.

Cooperation makes sense for firms innovating more. So, the causal relationship is far from being clear. This would lead to a Heckit-model with endogenous explanatory variables and a simultaneous equation system.

Overall our findings suggest that innovative firms rely on collaboration partners at a variety of spatial distances. Policy interventions in favor of regional and local networking based on the cluster literature are probably misleading. Some evidence as to this argument is provided with the distance paradox. The descriptive analysis reveals that collaboration at the regional level has a pronounced dip in comparison to the local and national reach. This relates to the weak evidence of a negative influence of regional collaboration activities with regard to product innovations.

But at least with regard to the regional innovation system of Jena a local focus of collaboration does not seem to be harmful. These outcomes as to a strong local bias of collaboration activities are in line with evidence pointing out that Jena is an efficient regional innovation system with a location specific collaboration spirit (Cantner et al.

2008, Fritsch et al. 2010).

Probably, following Nelson and Winter (1982), collaboration for innovation is a kind of search process with risks and uncertainties where a great deal of mistake is inevitable.

A broad search strategy with a multitude of collaboration activities and in addition a geographical reach depending on the firm specific needs will lead to more technological and market opportunities discovered.

Given the importance of scientific partners for product and process innovations, innovation policy should concentrate on the funding of public research. In addition, the public funding of openness of firms might be helpful due to the positive effects of the number of partners and transfer channels. Thus, fostering networking without imposing a spatial reach is reasonable.

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References Agarwal, R. (1998), Small Firm Survival and Technological Activity, Small Business Economics, 11(3), pp. 215-224.

Anselin, L., Varga, A., Acs, Z. (2000), Geographical Spillovers and University Research: A Spatial Econometric Perspective, Growth and Change, 31, pp. 501Antonelli, Ch., Fassio, C. (2011), The role of external knowledge in the introduction of product and process innovations, Working paper 01/2011, Universita de Torino.

Arvanitis, S., Kubli, U., Woerter, M. (2005), University-Industry Knowledge and Technology Transfer in Switzerland: The University View, Zurich: ETH Zentrum.

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