How to measure the innovation performance of spatial units?

Broekel, T. (2015), Do cooperative R&D subsidies stimulate regional innovation efficiency? Evidence from Germany. Regional Studies, 49(7):1087-1110 (pdf).


The subsidization of research and development (R&D) and R&D cooperation has gained in importance in recent years. Building on a rich panel dataset, covering 270 German labour market regions and four industries, it is shown that subsidies for R&D cooperation are a suitable policy measure for stimulating the innovation efficiency of regions. The empirical findings suggest that regions with low innovation capacities benefit the most from cooperation among regional firms and subsidized links to non-regional public research institutes. The subsidization of cooperation with non-regional universities is more important for regions with large innovation capacities. Support for non-cooperative projects is related to negative effects.

Broekel, T. (2012), Collaboration intensity and regional innovation efficiency in Germany – A conditional efficiency approach. Industry and Innovation, 19(3): 155-179 (pdf).


Many case studies highlight a positive relationship between regions’ innovation performance and the intensity of collaboration among regional organizations. However, few efforts have been made to analyze this relation with quantitative approaches. In addition to a theoretical discussion, the paper presents an empirical investigation on this issue utilizing conditional efficiency analysis and patent co-application data for the Electrics & Electronics industry in 270 German labor market regions. The results show that the relationship between regions’ innovation performance and the intensities of regional as well as inter-regional collaboration take the form of an inverted-U shape. Regions with average regional and inter-regional collaboration intensities are found to outperform those characterized by extremely low, high or unbalanced collaboration behavior.

Broekel, T. and Brenner, T. (2011), Regional Factors and Innovativeness – An Empirical Analysis of Four German Industries. The Annals of Regional Science, 47(1):169-194 (pdf)


A growing body of work emphasizes the importance of regional factors for regional innovativeness. In this paper, about 70 variables approximating the social-economic characteristics of regions are aggregated to 12 regional factors. In four industry-specific set-ups their influence on firms’ innovativeness is tested. The study confirms that inter-industrial differences exist in the importance of these factors. In the empirical analyses a log-linear model is compared with a linear approach. While both are theoretically problematic it is shown that the log-linear model performs better in the empirical assessment.

Brenner, T. and Broekel, T. (2011), Methodological Issues in Measuring Innovation Performance of Spatial Units. Industry and Innovation, 18(11):7:37 (pdf).


The innovation performance of regions or nations has been repeatedly measured in the literature. What is missing, however, is a discussion of what innovation performance of a region or nation means. How do regions or nations exactly contribute to the innovation output of firms? And how can this contribution be investigated in an empirically sound way? We argue that while the literature offers many suggestions, their theoretical foundation is often weak and the underlying assumptions are rarely discussed. In this paper, we systematize various mechanisms by which spatial units influence firms’ innovation activities. On the basis of this, common innovation performance measures and analyses are discussed and evaluated. It is concluded that there is no general best way of measuring the innovation performance of spatial units. In fact, the most interesting insights can be obtained using a multitude of different approaches at the same time.