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The Geography of Innovation - How disruptive technologies diffuse

Geoff Riley

11th August 2021

This new paper from Bloom et al from Stanford provides an overview of how original pioneer locations of disruptive technologies such as AI and broadband retain their initial advantages over many years running into decades.

One possibility is that the original pioneers become major employers and attract even more highly skilled workers to where new jobs linked to these innovations are being created.

Another is that established firms based elsewhere move jobs to the innovation hubs.

Clusters of disruptive businesses often provide a fertile environment for start-ups many of which are founded by former employees of established and dominant businesses.

"locations where initial discoveries were made [retained] their leading positions among high-paying positions for decades. These tech hubs are more likely to arise in areas with universities & high-skilled labour pools.'

The paper is good enrichment reading for those interested in the economics of agglomeration, innovation clusters (often built around universities and science parks) and the economics of cities.

Geoff Riley

Geoff Riley FRSA has been teaching Economics for over thirty years. He has over twenty years experience as Head of Economics at leading schools. He writes extensively and is a contributor and presenter on CPD conferences in the UK and overseas.

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