Tacit knowledge, innovation and economic geography

Jeremy R.L. Howells*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The aim of this paper is to outline the importance of tacit knowledge in the innovation process and to highlight the way that geographical location not only influences the relationship between knowledge and innovative activity, but also affects the way that such interaction influences the geography of innovation and economic activity. After a discussion about the nature of knowledge, the paper explores the relationship that exists between knowledge and geography, The paper then reviews, using as an analytical lens, the growing body of literature on knowledge spillovers which affirm the importance of geography. However, the discussion then seeks to outline some crucial gaps that remain in our conceptualisation of the knowledge spillover and transfer process. The paper then highlights the neglected role of knowledge demand and consumption in a spatial context, before concluding with a review of areas for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)871-884
Number of pages14
JournalUrban Studies
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2002


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