University knowledge and the creation of innovative start-ups: an analysis of the Italian case

Research paper by Niccolò Ghio, Massimiliano Guerini, Cristina Rossi-Lamastra

Indexed on: 14 Mar '16Published on: 12 Mar '16Published in: Small Business Economics


Grounding on the Knowledge Spillover Theory of Entrepreneurship, this paper advances research on innovative start-ups by studying whether and how university knowledge fosters the creation of these firms at the local level. First, we contend that geographical proximity shapes the impact of university knowledge on the creation of innovative start-ups in a geographical area. In other words, in this context, university knowledge spillovers are highly localized. Second, we argue that the availability in an area of individuals with open-minded attitudes (regional openness) lessens the localized nature of university knowledge spillovers, favouring the exploitation of geographically distant university knowledge for the creation of innovative start-ups. Results from estimations of zero-inflated negative binomial regressions on a sample of 1188 province–industry pairs confirm our conjectures.