The Importance of Geographical Proximity for New Product Development Activities within Inter-firm Linkages

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The Importance of Geographical Proximity for New Product Development Activities within Inter-firm Linkages

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Title: The Importance of Geographical Proximity for New Product Development Activities within Inter-firm Linkages
An Empirical Test
Author: Dahlgren, Henrich
Abstract: This paper takes an economic approach to investigate the role of geographical proximity for organizing new product development (NPD) activities within inter-firm linkages. Product development theory and the resource-based view is discussed from an inter-firm perspective and contrasted to arguments in the literature on geographical economics. The approach in this paper assumes that geographical proximity is crucial for inter-firm learning, knowledge transfer and creation of capabilities to a higher extent in inter-firm linkages with a high level of interaction, in industries where knowledge is relatively more important as a resource and where collaboration partners are important. Hypotheses are tested by means of a quantitative analysis of a data set containing information about 4842 domestic and international inter-firm linkages of Danish firms in manufacturing industries. The findings in this analysis exhibit low support for the general role of geographical proximity for organizing NPD activities within inter-firm linkages. The result suggests that geographical proximity seems to play a role in inter-firm linkages in few cases. For instance, it is shown that knowledge intensive firms exhibit a propensity for international linkages. It is further suggested closer geographical distance for inter-firm linkages with medium and high level of interaction, suppliers or customers accounting for more than one third of total purchases or sales, and for linkages lasting for at least 10 years. Key words: capabilities, economics of localization, innovation, inter-firm linkages, knowledge, product development, proximity, resources JEL-codes: L23, L60, O32
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10398/7268
Date: 2005-12-12

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