Journal of Evolutionary Economics

, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 417–436 | Cite as

The spatial component of R&D networks

  • Tobias SchollEmail author
  • Antonios Garas
  • Frank Schweitzer
Regular Article


We study the role of geography in R&D networks by means of a quantitative, micro-geographic approach. Using a large database that covers international R&D collaborations from 1984 to 2009, we localize each actor precisely in space through its latitude and longitude. This allows us to analyze the R&D network at all geographic scales simultaneously. Our empirical results show that despite the high importance of the city level, transnational R&D collaborations at large distances are much more frequent than expected from similar networks. This provides evidence for the ambiguity of distance in economic collaboration which is also suggested by the existing literature. In addition we test whether the hypothesis of local buzz and global pipelines applies to the observed R&D network by calculating well-defined metrics from network theory.


Complex network Geographic distance R&D Collaboration 

JEL Classification

F60 F23 O30 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interests

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tobias Scholl
    • 1
    Email author
  • Antonios Garas
    • 2
  • Frank Schweitzer
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Geography, House of Logistics, Mobility (HOLM) GmbH, Frankfurt0Philipps University of MarburgMarburgGermany
  2. 2.Chair of Systems Design, ETH ZurichZurichSwitzerland

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