High Technology Firms in Eastern Germany: Spatial Distribution and Growth Patterns
High technology firms are often considered to be one of the drivers of structural change in Eastern Germany. With regard to the possible benefits of high-tech firms, the focus is on employments effects in particular. In a first step, the article investigates the regional distribution of firms from high technology sectors in Eastern Germany. Furthermore, within the framework of a case study of firms from business incubators, it is investigated whether high-tech firms in fact show a high growth potential, as it is often postulated. Empirical results concerning the spatial pattern show a highly heterogeneous distribution, with a strong North-South divide. In particular, path dependency seems to be relevant in explaining the high-tech patterns/agglomerations identified. In addition, the case study results demonstrate the strong growth potential of high-tech firms compared to low-tech firms and firms from rather traditional sectors respectively, whereby a higher R&D intensity (within the sample of high-tech firms) is found to be associated with higher growth. However, the article warns against “high-tech euphoria”, since the total number of existing high-tech firms as well as the number of newly founded high technology ventures is modest, and therefore the overall employment effect is rather limited.