Knowledge drives the growth of nations and regions in a competitive space-economy. Hence, we would expect a strong correlation between investments in R&D, knowledge and learning processes, on the one hand, and productivity increases, on the other. However, the empirical evidence shows consistent discrepancies between knowledge inputs and economic performance across geographical units. This paper addresses this intriguing issue at the regional level, by highlighting both theoretically and empirically the strategic importance played by cognitive elements as part of “territorial capital” in mediating between knowledge production and regional growth. The main proposition of the paper, subject to empirical testing, is that cognitive elements as part of territorial capital magnify the contribution of knowledge by determining the formation of increasing returns to knowledge exploitation.
territorial capital regional growth cognitive knowledge rivalry R&D