Name and affiliations of the session organisers
- Riccardo Crescenzi (LSE)
- Max Nathan (UCL)
- Davide Rigo (LSE)
Furthermore, the consensus in the literature is that knowledge flows are highly dependent on face-to-face interactions (Storper and Venables 2004). Here, the effects of the WFH transition on innovation remain unclear. From one perspective, it is bad for innovation: it reduces in-person interactions and thus the generation of new ideas (Atkin et al. 2022), especially if online communication only offers a thin form of ‘being there’ (Ayyangar 2021). Evidence from firms under COVID finds some support for this (Bao et al. 2021, Gibbs et al. 2021). Longer term, such a shift would also reduce clusters’ and cities’ dominant role in innovative activity. From another perspective, though, online communications platforms may be ‘good enough’ to support at least some innovative activity (Grabher and Ibert 2014). Hybrid working may also increase effective labour market size, bringing together larger pools of potential collaborators / ideas (Clancy 2021). The pre-pandemic growth of international teams and research provides some support for this, as does suggestions of a long-term declining urban innovation premium (Packalen and Bhattacharya 2015). Such a shift might partially de-urbanise invention, leading to more even geographies of innovative activity.
We welcome contributions to the above, including on these questions:
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