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Knowledge Spillovers

  • By: Samuli Leppälä & Pierre Desrochers
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

By knowledge spillovers, economic geographers usually refer to technical, scientific, or organizational knowledge that, once discovered, easily comes to the attention of other individuals due to its nonrival and (partially) nonexcludable nature. Nonrivalness implies that additional users bear no extra cost and do not prevent others from possessing and using the knowledge. Nonexcludability indicates that it is also impossible, or at least very difficult, to prevent others from gaining the knowledge, whether they have contributed to its production or not. The term spillover is intended to highlight the difficulty of controlling knowledge and preventing its unintentional dissemination in the economy. Now regarded as the central factor for economic growth, knowledge spillovers and their underlying circumstances have received increased scholarly attention.

A common assumption in the geography ...

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