Thriving Innovation Amidst Manufacturing Decline: The Detroit Auto Cluster and the Stickiness of Local Knowledge
TMCD & Said Business School Seminar with Prof Ram Mudambi
Venue: Seminar Room 2, Oxford Department of International Development
This paper uses a comprehensive dataset of 35 years of patenting activity in the U.S. to analyze the evolution of innovative activity in the Detroit auto cluster and its degree of connectivity to global innovation networks. We use this empirical setting to explore the evolution of innovative activity in an industrial cluster as it suffers structural changes associated with a long-term decline in the manufacturing activity. In this study of the Detroit auto cluster, we contribute to prior literature in at least three aspects. First, our analysis confirms that knowledge is “sticky” and that innovation in clusters can be resilient in a context of industrial decline. Second, we map the global connectivity of local innovation networks and suggest that this connectivity may one of the pillars that sustain local innovation. Finally, we disentangle the drivers of this connectivity and distinguish between the geographic proximity to neighboring clusters and the “knowledge proximity” to faraway locations. While our conclusions are obtained in the context of the Detroit auto cluster, we suggest that they provide insights that can be generalized to other industrial clusters undergoing major structural changes.
Ram Mudambi is Professor and Perelman Senior Research Fellow at the Fox School of Business, Temple University. Previously he served on the faculties of Case Western Reserve University, the University of Reading (UK) and the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. He is a Fellow of the Academy of International Business. He is a visiting Professor at Henley Business School, University of Reading, an Honorary Professor at the Center of International Business, University of Leeds (CIBUL) and a member of advisory council of the University of Bradford Centre in International Business (BCIB).
He has served as a Visiting Professor at a number of universities including Bocconi (Italy), Uppsala (Sweden), Sydney (Australia) and Copenhagen Business School (Denmark). He holds a Master’s degree from the London School of Economics and a Ph.D. from Cornell University.
His current research projects focus on the geography of innovation and the governance of knowledge-intensive processes. He has served as an Associate Editor of the Global Strategy Journal (2010-2013) and is an Area Editor at the Journal of International Business Studies (2013-2016). He has published over 80 peer-reviewed articles, including work in the Journal of Political Economy, the Journal of Economic Geography, the Strategic Management Journal and the Journal of International Business Studies. He has been a special issue editor for the Journal of Economic Geography, the Journal of Management Studies and the International Business Review. He serves on the editorial boards numerous journals.
For more information visit: http://astro.temple.edu/~rmudambi/