Institut für Wirtschafts- und Kulturgeographie Forschung Forschungsprojekte
Intangible Assets and Regional Economic Growth in Europe (IAREG)

Intangible Assets and Regional Economic Growth in Europe (IAREG)

Leitung:  Prof. Dr. Javier Revilla Diez, Dr. Daniel Schiller und 10 Partner an europäischen Universitäten
Team:  Prof. Dr. Javier Revilla Diez, Dr. Daniel Schiller, Jan-Philipp Kramer
Jahr:  2011
Förderung:  Europäische Union (EU) im 7. Forschungsrahmenplan
Laufzeit:  2008 - 2011
Ist abgeschlossen:  ja

Scientific Executive Summary
Policy Brief on multinational enterprises and universities
Policy Brief on mobile star scientists


Please also refer to the project homepage for further information.

Project Background
Intangible Assets and Regional Economic Growth (IAREG) is a project financed by the European Union under the Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development in the 'Socio-economic sciences and the humanities' area (FP7-SSH-2007-1. 216813).

The IAREG consortium consists of 11 partners from different European countries with the aim of studying the impact of Intangible Assets on Regional Economic Growth. The work carried out by the Partners adhering to the IAREG Project will be organized in 8 different Work-Packages with the aim of providing empirical and theoretical analysis as well as useful policy implications to academia, policy makers and general audience.

The objective of the IAREG Project is to analyse the role played by intangible assets (IA) in the generation of innovation, competitiveness and consequently economic growth and increases in productivity at regional level with a special emphasis on the geographical space in which such processes occur.

Specific objectives:

  • To develop new indicators for improving the measuring of the IA considered having the most influence in the generation of economic development.
  • To analyse how IA and their interaction define the environment affecting firms’ location.
  • To measure the role of regional externalities in the generation of IA and in determining local economic performances in Europe and in the diffusion of knowledge.
  • To provide decision makers with policy recommendations in order to support them in the future design and implementation of regional innovation strategies.

Intangible assets play an increasing role in determining the growth prospects of advanced economies. IA contribute to production and productivity both within the firm (through human and organizational capital, intellectual assets, brand name etc.) and outside it (through local externalities, the legal and institutional framework, the education system, property rights protection, social capital, among others). This growing reliance on IA has far reaching implications on firms’ location choices, on the modes and effects of local interaction and externalities and, through these channels, on regional growth.

A main problem when considering IA is that traditional management systems have been designed for tangible assets, which can be easily measured and valued within the company and at regional economic level. However, since it is not so straightforward in the case of IA, and given their increasing importance, regional administrations, firms and public organisms require new evidence on the processes through which IA influence economic growth in order to foster theirs drivers and monitor their impact on economic growth.

The project started on the 1st of February 2008 and it will last 30 months. It is organized in eight work-packages. The Hannover team participates in WP1 and WP2

WP 1. Knowledge accumulation processes and regional growth
The general objective is to achieve an integrated analytical framework of competitive strategies and collaborative linkages among firms and different organizations, in order to improve the understanding of the systemic nature of innovation processes at the sub-national and national scale; and to derive policy implications for national and regional systems of innovation.

The Hannover team will carry out a comparative analysis of inter-regional and intra-regional interactions of multinational enterprises (MNEs) during the innovation process. We will use integrated secondary data and direct interviews with managers to investigate the geographical linkages for knowledge creation of MNEs based in selected EU countries (UK and Germany). Particular attention will paid to the differences in the strategies of EU-owned MNEs versus non EU-owned MNEs based in these countries.

WP 2. Human and social capital and regional productivity
The main objective of this work-package is to analyze the influence of human and social capital on economic growth not only directly but also including the interactions among both of them, an issue that has not been studied in depth in the literature. Therefore, both individual and regional/national returns to human and social capital will be analysed as interacting factors of economic development in Europe.

The Hannover team will analyze the mobility and the impact on regional development of knowledge spillover agents (KSAs), i.e. star scientists at universities and research labs who are engaged in university-industry knowledge transfer. We are going to conduct interviews with KSAs in selected scientific fields at German universities and research institutes. Our findings will integrate the innovation and mobility literature to explain the underlying motivations for mobility and cooperation among KSAs. We will also compare our findings from Germany with similar U.S. studies.

The remaining work-packages are:
WP 3. Entrepreneurship capital and and regional competitiveness
WP 4. Knowledge flows and regional productivity
WP 5. IA, firms location and regional competitiveness
WP 6. Policy design to stimulate IA and economic growth
WP 7. Dissemination
WP 8. Project management


  • Schiller, D.; Revilla Diez, J. (2011): The Impact of Academic Mobility on the Creation of Localized Intangible Assets. In: Regional Studies 46(10): 1319-1332.
  • Kramer, J.-P.; Marinelli, E.; Iammarino, S.; Revilla Diez, J. (2011): Intangible assets as drivers of innovation: Empirical evidence on multinational enterprises in German and UK regional systems of innovation. In: Technovation, Volume 31, Issue 9, pp. 447-458.
  • Kramer, J.; Revilla Diez, J. (2011): Catching the Local Buzz by Embedding? Empirical Insights on the Regional Embeddedness of Multinational Enterprises in Germany and the UK. Regional Studies . Online verfügbar unter
  • Kramer, J.-P. (2011): Multinational Enterprises in Regional Innovation Processes. Empirical Insights into Intangible Assets, Open Innovation and Firm Embeddedness in Regional Innovation Systems in Europe. Frankfurt: Peter Lang.
  • Kramer, J.-P.; Revilla Diez, J.; Marinelli, E.; Iammarino, S. (2010): Intangible assets and MNEs' locational strategy for innovation — or: why the regional matters. Jahrbuch für Regionalwissenschaft 30 (2): 129-157.
  • Schiller, D.; Revilla Diez, J. (2010): Local embeddedness of knowledge spillover agents: Empirical evidence from German star scientists. Papers in Regional Science 89(2): 275-294.

Wissenschaftliche Vorträge:

  • Schiller, D.: The impact of star scientists on the creation of localised intangible assets: qualitative results for Germany and an agenda for quantitative research. Regional Studies Association (RSA) European Conference, 13.-16. Mai 2012, Delft, Niederlande.
  • Schiller, D.: Lokale Einbettung und Wissensspillover von Spitzenforschern in Deutschland. 11. Symposium zur Wirtschaftsgeographie. 28.-30. April 2011. Rauischholzhausen.
  • Kramer, J.-P.: Intangible Assets and Regional Economic Growth. Conceptual Insights - Empirical Results - Rural Areas. RUFUS/TRUST Workshop "Diversities of rural areas in Europe and beyond", Leibniz University of Hannover, 25-26. August 2010. Hannover, Germany.
  • Schiller, D.: The Impact of Academic Mobility on the Creation of Localized Intangible Assets. 50th European Congress of the Regional Science Association (ERSA). Special Session on “R&D Strategies, Innovation and Growth”. 19.-23. August 2010. Jönköping, Schweden.
  • Kramer, J.-P.: Global Players in Local Games? New empirical insights on the regional embeddedness of Multinational Enterprises in Europe. Guest Presentation at Joanneum Research, Centre for Economic and Innovation Research, 30. July 2010. Wien, Austria.
  • Kramer, J.-P.: Catching the local buzz by embedding? Empirical insights on the regional embeddedness of Multinational Enterprises in Europe. Seminar on Regional Innovation Systems in Europe, Department of Geography, University of California at Berkeley. 14. Mai 2010. Berkeley, CA.
  • Kramer, J.-P.: Catching the local buzz by embedding? Empirical insights on the regional embeddedness of Multinational Enterprises in Europe. Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers (AAG). 14.-18. April 2010. Washington DC.
  • Kramer, J.-P.: Embedded Multinationals? Intangible Assets, Multinational Enterprises and Regional Innovation in Europe: Conceptual Thoughts and Empirical Insights from Germany and the UK. Jahrestreffen des AK Industriegeographie, Naurod-Niedernhausen, 13.-14.11.2009.
  • Kramer, J.-P.: Intangible Assets & MNEs' Locational Strategies for Innovation: Open Innovation in Regional Innovation Systems. Empirical Insights from Germany and the UK. Conference "Organizing for Internal and External Knowledge Creation", Center for Strategic Management and Globalization/Copenhagen Business School, 29.-30.10.2009.
  • Kramer, J.-P.: Intangible Assets and MNEs' locational strategies for innovation - or why the regional matters. International Summer-Conference in Regional Science. Lübeck, 19.-20.06.2009.
  • Schiller, D.: Mobile star scientists as regional knowledge spillover agents. 7th Conference on University, Industry & Government Linkages (Triple Helix VII), 17.-19. Juni 2009, Glasgow.
  • Kramer, J.-P.: Intangible Assets and MNEs' locational strategies for innovation - or why the regional matters. 12th Uddevalla Symposium on the Geography of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Bari (Italy), 11.-13.06.2009.
  • Schiller, D.: Mobile star scientists as regional knowledge spillover agents. First Progress Meeting of the IAREG Project. 15.-16. Januar 2009. Brüssel.
  • Kramer, J.-P.: The role of Multinational Enterprise Networks for Knowledge Creation. IAREG Workshop on "Knowledge Accumulation Processes and Regional Growth" at SPRU/University of Sussex. Brighton (UK) 22.09.2008.
  • Schiller, D.: Knowledge Spillover Agents (KSA) - Review of Literature and Research Methods. IAREG-Workshop zu "Human and Social Capital and Regional Productivity". 09. Mai 2008. Universitat de Barcelona.