The Role of Social Capital in Regional Technological Innovation: Seeing both the wood and the trees
Springer London, Dordrecht Amsterdam
This paper both attempts to identify the key conceptual and methodological principles that can be extracted from the very complex literatures on social capital and innovation, and to draw out the interactions between these concepts. The paper argues that the social capital literature has been hijacked at one end by those solely taken by precise definitions and measurement, and at the other end by those that proclaim social capital to be the blanket solution, and the missing link. If we allow ourselves to get caught up in the too miniature details then we risk losing important insights from a fascinating concept. At the other end, broad-sweeping claims about social capital risk devastating policy prescriptions. The paper attempts to show that yes social capital does exist, and yes it is important for regional technological innovation. However, social capital can also be a hindrance for regional technological innovation, and cannot replace other important regional development resources.