Localized knowledge spillovers: Evidence from the spatial clustering of R&D labs and patent citations

Kristy Buzard, Gerald A. Carlino, Robert M. Hunt, Jake K. Carr, Tony E. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Buzard et al. (2017) show that American R&D labs are highly spatially concentrated even within a given metropolitan area. We argue that the geography of their clusters is better suited for studying knowledge spillovers than are states, metropolitan areas, or other political or administrative boundaries that have predominantly been used in previous studies. In this paper, we assign patents and citations to these newly defined clusters of R&D labs. Our tests show that the localization of knowledge spillovers, as measured via patent citations, is strongest at small spatial scales and diminishes with distance. On average, patents within a cluster are about two to four times more likely to cite an inventor in the same cluster than one in a control group. Of import, we find that the degree of localization of knowledge spillovers will be understated in samples based on metropolitan area definitions compared to samples based on the R&D clusters. At the same time, the strength of knowledge spillovers varies widely between clusters. The results are robust to the specification of patent technological categories, the method of citation matching, and alternate cluster definitions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number103490
JournalRegional Science and Urban Economics
StatePublished - Mar 2020


  • Geographic concentration
  • Localized knowledge spillovers
  • Patent citations
  • R&D labs
  • Spatial clustering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Urban Studies


Dive into the research topics of 'Localized knowledge spillovers: Evidence from the spatial clustering of R&D labs and patent citations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this