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Addressing Spatial Inequalities Through Innovation

March 4, 2024

IRC Insight Report 009

Insights & Reviews
Research Paper


Prof Neil Lee


This review considers the effectiveness of innovation as a tool to reduce spatial inequality. Innovation is important for local economic performance, and the distribution of innovation is a key factor shaping spatial inequality. But efforts to use innovation to help lagging places converge can be problematic as it relies on local ‘systems’ of related actors. This makes it very hard for policy to create new clusters of innovative firms from scratch. Instead, policy to encourage innovation in lagging regions needs to work with the existing economic structure, build local policy capacity, and consider application and diffusion of innovation and new technology rather than the just the technological frontier.

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