Knowledge Complexity

Session organisers:

Pierre-Alexandre Balland (Utrecht University)
Tom Broekel (University of Stavanger)


Recent literature in economic geography, innovation studies, and complex systems is increasingly referring to the concept of knowledge complexity when explaining the growth and diversification of regions as well as the spatial distribution and diffusion of innovative activities. By now, it is widely accepted that knowledge complexity is crucial for understanding key issues in the geography of knowledge and innovation. However, it is still conceptualized, understood, and empirically applied in various ways. Moreover, little is known about its properties, relations to other concepts, policy applications, and evolution in time and space.

This special session invites scholars from different disciplines to exchange their perspectives on the concept of knowledge complexity. The session particularly welcomes theoretical and empirical papers relating to the following questions:

  • What is knowledge complexity?
  • How can knowledge complexity be measured and applied in empirical studies?
  • How does the geography of complex knowledge looks like and how does it evolve over time?
  • What is the impact of FDI, migration, and institutions on the development of knowledge complexity?
  • What is the relation between agglomeration externalities and knowledge complexity?
  • How does complex knowledge relate to competitiveness and regional growth?
  • What is the impact of technological progress (increasing knowledge complexity) on spatial inequality and income inequality?
  • How can the concept of knowledge complexity contribute to the design of innovation policy (i.e. cluster policy, smart specialization strategy…)?


  • University of Stavanger - Norway


  • Lyse Energi
  • Research Council of Norway
  • stavanger kommune
GEOINNO2020 is over. Thank you all 411 who came to Stavanger for these three days!