Knowledge Base Combinations and Innovation Performance in Swedish Regions

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The literature on geography of innovation suggests that innovation outcomes depend on a diversity of knowledge inputs, which can be captured with the differentiated knowledge base approach. While knowledge bases are distinct theoretical categories, existing studies stress that innovation often involves combinations of analytical, synthetic, and symbolic knowledge. It remains unclear, though, which combinations are most conducive to innovation at the level of the firm and how this is influenced by the knowledge bases available in the region. This article fills this gap by reviewing the conceptual arguments on how and why certain firm and regional knowledge base combinations relate to firm innovativeness and by investigating these relationships econometrically. The knowledge base is captured using detailed occupational data derived from linked employer–employee data sets merged at the firm level with information from Community Innovation Surveys in Sweden. The results indicate that analytical knowledge outweighs the importance of synthetic and symbolic knowledge and that, however, firms benefit most from being located in a region with a balanced mix of all three knowledge bases.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Economic Geography


  • knowledge base, knowledge combination, region, innovation performance, microdata, cross-level interaction, Sweden
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)458-479
JournalEconomic Geography
Issue number5
Early online date2016 Apr 14
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Oct 20
Publication categoryResearch