Local variety and innovation performance in the EU textile and clothing industry

TitleLocal variety and innovation performance in the EU textile and clothing industry
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsGiannini V, Iacobucci D, Perugini F
JournalEconomics of Innovation and New Technology

ABSTRACTA large body of the literature showed that related variety at local level is more relevant than unrelated variety for explaining the innovation performance of firms. Knowledge relatedness is usually measured by considering activities within the same industry (i.e. the same two-digit code) while activities in different industries are associated with unrelated variety. This approach is challenged by the increasing relevance of transversal technologies, i.e. technologies that are developed and applied in rather different sectors. As a result, between industry variety (i.e. unrelated variety) is expected to be more important than within industry variety (i.e. related variety). We test this hypothesis by examining the innovation activities of firms in the textile and clothing industry. The innovation model of these firms is characterized by low investment in R&D, little capabilities for autonomous innovation and dependence from knowledge suppliers belonging to different sectors. The empirical analysis, carried out over the 1996–2014 period at the EU NUTS2 level, shows that between industry variety has a greater impact than within industry variety for the innovative performance of firms.