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ISSN 1995-459X print
E-ISSN 2312-9972 online
ISSN 2500-2597 online English

Leonid Gokhberg


Lucio Morettini , Giulio Perani, Giorgio Sirilli

The Concentration of Knowledge Activities in Italy: An Analysis at the Local Level

2013. Vol. 7. No. 2. P. 28–39 [issue contents]

Innovation activities localized in municipalities are increasingly regarded as the key to fostering growth at the regional level. A deeper statistical analysis of its main actors enables identifying previously unobvious interrelations and better understanding capacities of a territory. However in most countries the analysis of the geographical distribution of R&D until today has been based, so far, on data broken down at regional level. Only a few countries implement breaking down the available regional data to a much more detailed municipality level. The paper reports some preliminary results of such comprehensive study recently undertaken in Italy. It provides a descriptive analysis on localization of knowledge activities (R&D, patents, publications), evaluates the relationship among the knowledge activities performed by the key actors — business, public sector, higher education and private non-profit organizations, attempts to identify the sectorial R&D specialization of the Italian Local Labour Systems (LLSs).

The analysis shows that knowledge activities are quite spread over the Italian territory but, at the same time, they are also heavily concentrated. Only about half of LLSs accommodate public or private R&D performers or authors of scientific publications. The presented data largely confirm the traditional dichotomy between Northern and Southern Italy: Northern regions host the highest rates of the national R&D expenditure and have almost a monopoly for patents. When considering only large urban areas, there are no major differences in the geographical distribution of research expenditure and output.

The main difference is about the “less knowledge active” LLSs: in Southern Italy, for instance, there is a significant gap of research activities between the urban areas and the territories less intensively urbanized and industrialised. On the other hand, in the Northern regions, even small LLSs have some evidence of R&D expenditure or patents. These differences are strictly connected with the structure of university network and productive activities: in particular, Veneto and Emilia Romagna have a more even diffusion of R&D activities — there are a large number of universities as well as a plenty of small or medium innovative firms in these regions. In their turn, Piedmont and Lombardy concentrate their knowledge potential around the large urban areas. Relating to the first two regions the existence of a Regional Innovation System could be assumed, while in Piedmont and Lombardy a Local Innovation System has emerged.

Citation: Morettini L., Perani G., Sirilli G. (2013) The Concentration of Knowledge Activities in Italy: An Analysis at the Local Level. Foresight-Russia, vol. 7, no 2, pp. 28-39.
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