This book makes a strong and coherent contribution to the discussion of the knowledge economy and of innovation, offering a range of theoretical insights from different disciplinary perspectives. The role of knowledge, knowledge development, and knowledge diffusion is discussed at the micro level of individuals and firms, but also at the level of groups of firms and sectors, as well as at the level of the economy at large.
Dolfsma analyses knowledge development and diffusion as a thoroughly social process, depending on communicative structures to support cooperation. The author combines insights from economics and management with perspectives from sociology (network theory), anthropology (gift exchange), social psychology, science studies and information theory (scientometrics), using empirical analyses to demonstrate where knowledge impacts the dynamics of an economy.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction 2. Knowledge and Learning 3. Creating Knowledge: Transfer, Exchange and Gifts 4. Development of Economic Knowledge: Paradigms and New Ideas 5. Knowledge Exchange in Networks: Within-Firm Analysis 6. Knowledge Exchange between Firms: Economic Geography of High-Tech Firms 7. The Knowledge Base of an Economy: What Contributes to its Entropy? 8. A Dynamic Welfare Perspective for the Knowledge Economy 9. Concluding Remarks
Wilfred Dolfsma, economist and philosopher, holds a PhD in economics and is currently employed as associate professor at the Utrecht School of Economics and as professorial fellow at UNU-MERIT. In addition, he is corresponding editor of the Review of Social Economy.
"Dolfsma’s book is an interesting contribution, which goes beyond economics and management theory and instead draws on different fields of social science. One has to give credit to Dolfsma’s intrepid ambitions in crossing disciplinary borders to better comprehend how knowledge can be understood and explained. The sheer volume of literature on these topics we have seen lately shows that these are some of the most fascinating, and maybe hardest to grasp, of economic processes.It is therefore important to keep the debate open, and look beyond the realms of one’s own discipline to find further elucidation.As Dolfsma himself says in the final remarks of the book, one must understand that ‘there can be another perspective of a single phenomenon, and it requires one to sensibly use the concept offered, combining them fruitfully with other insights’."
Atle Hauge, Department of Geography, University of Toronto
Journal of Economic Geography 9 (2009) pp. 285–287