Spatial Distribution of East German Innovative Competencies: Significant Increase in the Southwestern Hinterland of Berlin and in the Centres of Saxony and Thuringia
Patent applications constitute an essential indicator for the extent of innovative activities in an economy or region. Due to the fact that innovative activities are in general spatially concentrated, policy makers perceive in this information starting points for a growth-oriented regional policy. Against this background, the Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH) in 2004 had examined the spatial distribution of industries, firm networks and innovative competencies in the context of an area-wide study for East Germany. Newly available data for the patent statistics allow for an updating of these results regarding the innovative competencies for the time period from 2000 to 2005. In comparison to the time period between 1995 and 2000, an increase in innovative competencies becomes evident. This growth takes place almost exclusively in regions where innovative competencies are already domiciled. All in all, the growth dynamics of East Germany with regard to patent applications is slightly behind the West German one. The distribution of technological fields, to which the applied patents refer to, remained largely constant during the two observation periods. In the area of bio-technology, electrical engineering and of health care the standing of East Germany has further improved. With regard to political implications, the data should not be used for imposing technology specific support programs. Instead a tax relief for R&D independent of the used technologies seems to be more adequate.