A new indicator for innovation clusters

George Christopoulos & René Wintjes


This paper introduces a new approach for the definition of innovation clusters, based on the co-location of concentrated patenting and manufacturing activity in the EU. The incorporation of data on both the production and use of technologies results in an indicator that depicts both formal and informal modes of innovation and conditions which can be expected to be conducive to the generation, diffusion and absorption of innovation, and consequently the enhancement of competitiveness. Our findings indicate that certain types of patenting and manufacturing activity tend to co-locate. The sectoral-technological composition of the three types of concentrations observed points towards a higher level of diversity than one would expect in the case of narrow specialisation. Applying the new indicator in a test of the often hypothesised benefits of innovative clustering, we find that the identified clusters have consistently higher wages in the sectors concerned.

JEL Classification: O30, R12, L60

Keywords: Innovation, clusters, regional studies, patenting, manufacturing