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Since the advent of the knowledge economy several decades ago it has become evident that the territorial footprint of investment in intangible assets, such as R&D and human capital, is largely asymmetrical.
First, these types of assets tend to be distributed unevenly across space. Second, intangible assets are an important source of productivity growth and therefore are likely to offer a strong competitive edge to the regions where they are concentrated.
Although significant advances have been made in measuring intangible assets and accounting for their effects in economic outcomes, their exact nature remains vague. There is still no general consensus about the kind of expenditures that constitute intangible investment, while until very recently intangibles were mainly treated as intermediate expenditure within the National Accounts framework. Fortunately, since 2005 there has been a proliferation of studies that have made an effort to measure the magnitude of intangible assets at national level.
This research extends these efforts by allocating across the regions of Great Britain national intangible investment figures. The main objectives are to investigate the pattern of spatial distribution of intangibles in Great Britain and to examine their effects on the evolution of regional inequalities. The paper concludes with a consideration of the economic and policy implications of the asymmetrical distribution of intangible investment.
Dr Konstantinos Melachroinos
Konstantinos Melachroinos is an economic geographer specialising in the study of the determinants of regional economic growth, the investigation of the evolution of spatial disparities and the formulation of regional policies for the alleviation of territorial inequalities. His most recent research focuses on the role of foreign direct investment in promoting economic development in lagging regions and the territorial effects of the knowledge economy, especially investments in intangibles.
He is currently a Lecturer at the School of Geography, Queen Mary, University of London. During the period 2003-2005 he served as a regional economist in the Directorate for Public Governance and Territorial Development of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
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