I thank the Regional Studies Association for sponsoring my travel to the American Association of Geographers (AAG) annual meeting in New Orleans from April 10 to 14, 2018, to present part of my dissertation and network with colleagues.
I have presented in the session “Business Geography Student Paper Competition 2”. This is a session organized by the Business Geography Specialty Group and chaired by Tony Hernandez to feature student papers in the field of business geography. My presentation, titled “Do Small Businesses Improve Innovativeness More than Large Ones in Clusters?”, is a part of my dissertation and examines the role of industrial clusters in fostering business innovation in small versus in large businesses.
This presentation focuses on quantifying how much industrial clusters improve innovation of small and large businesses. Due to the endogeneity of firm size and the imprecise measurement for the spatial scale of clusters, prior studies fail to deliver a reliable estimate for this effect. My study solves endogeneity using the size of land parcels in 1973 as an instrument and mitigates the sample attrition bias with the Lee bounds. It also searches for the spatial scale at which clusters improve innovation in small and medium-size enterprises by the largest magnitude. Using establishment-level data for the state of Maryland and patent application data from 2004 to 2013, I find that industrial clusters at the spatial scale one mile in radius increase citation-weighted patent filings by 2.3% in small businesses, compared to only 0.5% in large ones. Due to the fact that small businesses account for the majority of the establishment population and are major job creators but sustain greater hurdles to finance, promoting clusters makes a promising option for practitioners to encourage overall innovative activities and boost local economic development.
My presentation has been received with interests from the audience. I have talked to many colleagues after the session to discuss more about my research, about RSA and about geography in general. This conference has been a fulfilling event for me.