Determinants of Regional Innovation in Russia: Are People or Capital More Important?

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Foresight and STI Governance, 10(20), 29–42 (2016) .


Spending on innovation increased annually in the 2000s in Russia’s regions, but innovation productivity varies greatly between regions. In the current climate of sanctions between Russia and Western countries and limitations on international technology transfer, there is a growing need to analyse the factors influencing regional innovation. Previous empirical studies using a knowledge production function approach have found that the main factor of the growth of regional innovation is increasing spending on research and development (R&D). Our econometric analyses show that the quality of human capital, a product of the number of economically active urban citizens with a higher education (the so-called creative class) has the greatest influence on the number of potentially commercializable patents. Other significant factors were buying equipment, which indicates a high rate of wear and tear of Russian machinery, and spending on basic research. The ‘centre-periphery’ structure of Russia’s innovation system favours the migration of highly qualified researchers to leading regions, which weakens the potential of the ‘donor regions’. However, at the same time, we see significantly fewer limitations on knowledge spillovers in the form of patents and — in this case — proximity to the ‘centres’ is a positive factor.

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