Title: The impact of local technology institutions and R&D investments on information and knowledge flows inside clusters

Authors: Isabel Díez-Vial; Marta Fernández-Olmos

Addresses: Departamento de Organización de Empresas, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Pozuelo de Alarcón, 28223 Madrid, Spain. ' Facultad de Ciencias Económicas de Zaragoza, Universidad de Zaragoza, Gran Vía, 2, 50005 Zaragoza, Spain

Abstract: This research evaluates the role of local technology institutions as an external source of ideas, information and knowledge that foster innovation and enhance the performance of firms. It is argued that firms that establish links with local technology institutions have access to valuable external information and knowledge flows, which in turn improve their export performance. We also examine differences in their absorptive capacity, which is their ability to recognise and assimilate information and knowledge spillovers, which depends on their existing internal knowledge stock. Empirical evidence from 106 exporting companies in the Iberian Ham cluster confirms that links with local technology institutions improve export performance. Contrary to expectations, the stock of internal knowledge does not increase a firm's ability to absorb external knowledge. It appears that firms reduce the spillovers created around the technology institution network, either to protect their internal investments or to develop links outside the cluster.

Keywords: local institutions; absorptive capacity; export performance; clusters; R&D; research and development; technology institutions; information flows; knowledge flows; external sources; ideas; performance enhancement; information spillovers; knowledge spillovers; existing knowledge; internal knowledge; exporting companies; Iberian Ham cluster; Spain; small and medium-sized enterprises; SMEs; meat production; food industry; external knowledge; networks; internal investments; external links; transitions; innovation systems; open innovation.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTIS.2012.049421

International Journal of Transitions and Innovation Systems, 2012 Vol.2 No.2, pp.194 - 209

Published online: 11 Oct 2014 *

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