SS2: Innovation and Regional Economic Development in Emerging and Developing Economies

Name and affiliations of the session organisers

  • Canfei He (Peking University)
  • Shengjun Zhu (Peking University)
  • Ron Boschma (Utrecht University)


There is a long-lasting concern on the link between innovation and its potential benefits on national and regional economic development as well as economic performance of firms and individuals. Many studies have confirmed that innovation and some related economic activities, such as R&D investments, can push forward firm productivity, output, and income, and subsequently have some significant economic and social impacts.
However, there is a great heterogeneity in terms of business environment between regions/countries and within regions/countries. Not all places have the same absorptive capacity to benefit from innovation given their different socio-economic conditions. Developed regions possess a large amount of R&D investment and can benefit more from massive expenditure on R&D, while developing regions on the other hand show some socio-economic and institutional deficiencies to fully take advantage of innovation activities. This difference could be a possible source of regional inequality within and across regions.
Furthermore, with different socioeconomic and institutional conditions, emerging and developing economies could provide interesting insights for some of the well-estimated hypotheses outlined in the current innovation studies. Will the long-standing hypotheses of innovation studies hold for emerging and developing economies? Will some explanatory variables play different roles in the process of innovation in emerging and developing economies?  
This session welcomes papers that explore the links between regional characteristics and innovation, especially focusing on innovation in developing and emerging economies. We encourage empirically or theoretically informed paper submissions that reflect on this issue. Research questions and issues could include (but are not limited to): 
  • Innovation networks in developing and emerging economies
  • Industrial clusters and innovation in developing and emerging economies
  • Regional inequality and innovation
  • Universities and innovation in developing and emerging economies
  • Different innovation policies and institutions in developing and emerging economies
  • Innovation collaboration between developing economies and developed economies


The Manchester Institute of Innovation Research


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The University of Manchester Hallsworth Conference Fund           The Regional Studies Association           The Productivity Institute