Connecting local and global technological knowledge sourcing

John Cantwell, Salma Zaman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Purpose: Through increasing globalization, cities are becoming increasingly interconnected with each other. To remain competitive, it is necessary for cities to combine complementary non-local sources of knowledge with local knowledge sources. The authors contend that an increase in non-local knowledge sourcing tends to enhance local knowledge sourcing too. The purpose of this study is to examine the influence of international knowledge sources on the capacity to build upon local knowledge sources in a city region. In addition, the authors investigate whether information and communication technologies (ICT) knowledge sources have a bigger impact than do other fields of knowledge on local knowledge connectivity. Design/methodology/approach: Using the US Patent and Trademark Office data, the authors study knowledge sourcing trends for the years 1980-2016 across 33 global cities. Backward patent citations from these granted patents are used to identify the location of inventors of prior knowledge sources, and the geography of knowledge building connections over time is assessed by using the inventor locations of cited (source) and citing (recipient) patents. Findings: The authors show that international knowledge sourcing is highly connected with local knowledge sourcing. The authors also find that ICT have a significant effect on this relationship. However, there are significant differences across cities in the extent and nature of this relationship. Originality/value: This study contributes to the literature on the changing geography of knowledge connections. It provides a detailed picture of changing knowledge sourcing trends at a city region level, and it improves our understanding of the role played by a variety of knowledge connections in helping a city remain competitive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)277-294
Number of pages18
JournalCompetitiveness Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)


  • Global cities
  • International knowledge transfer
  • Knowledge flows
  • Knowledge sources
  • Locational differences

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