Alessandra Micozzi Valentina Giannini

How Does the Localization of Innovative Start-ups Near the Universities Influence Their Performance?

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According to the knowledge spillover theory of entrepreneurship (kste), knowledge spillover tends to occur only within limited geographic areas, embedding economic activity based on this knowledge within the local context. The choice of localization of innovative start-ups near the public research centre (pri) as university from which the knowledge spillover comes could have an impact on their performance. The paper has the aim to demonstrate if the innovative start-ups that are localized near the pri show better performance in terms of profitability and sales. In the empirical analysis, we consider Italian start-ups born within 2012-2015 and their performance during the period 2012-2019 and we measure the road spatial distance (in kilometres) from start-up to the nearest research centres in the province of start-up. Specifically, firm performance is measured as roa (a measure of profit performance). Moreover, we include threshold values of sales to see the different impact of distance on different levels of sales in order to take into account the heterogeneity of this variable. Our results show as the distance is negative and significant for high level of sales and has an effect on the profitability of start-ups. Implications for researchers and policy makers were discussed, and areas for future research outlined.


  • Knowledge Spillover
  • Universities
  • Innovative Start-up
  • Knowledge-based Entrepreneurship
  • Italy


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