The roles of KIBS and R&D in the industrial diversification of regions

Jeroen Content*, Nicola Cortinovis, Koen Frenken, Jacob Jordaan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


There is a growing recognition of the importance of the creation of new industrial specialisations for sustained regional growth. However, path dependency often limits a region’s ability to do so, as the occurrence of new industrial specialisations is conditioned by its existing industrial base. In this paper, we use data for 269 NUTS-2 EU regions to examine whether regional Knowledge-Intensive Business Services (KIBS) and Research and Development (R&D) enhance the capacity of regions to specialise in new industries, against the forces of path dependence. Our findings show that both KIBS and R&D exercise direct positive effects on the creation of new industry specialisations and that professional-KIBS and public R&D impact negatively on the relatedness of new specialisations, while private R&D does so positively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-64
Number of pages36
JournalAnnals of Regional Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

JEL Classification: R11, O32, L84
Funding Information:
This work has been supported by the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, the European Commission, under the H2020 FIRES-project ( ). We thank the participants of the RSA conference in Dublin (2017), the ERSA conference in Groningen (2017), and the workshop on radical innovation in Bremen (2018) for their helpful comments. We would also like to thank the editor and the referees for their helpful comments during the reviewing process.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


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