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Chairs: Assoc. Prof. Riccardo Crescenzi & Simona Iammarino, London School of Economics, UK

The literature on the economic and innovation performance of cities and regions has reached a consensus on the idea that spatial proximity, density and localised processes should be placed into a broader context by accounting for other typologies of potential proximity relations between local (and non-local) agents. In order to maximize their innovative output cities and regions cannot rely exclusively on local knowledge assets, but should benefit from a combination of “local buzz” and “global pipelines” or, more generally, global networks. A highly significant role in this respect is attributed to foreign investment (FDI) and multinational enterprises (MNEs) that tap into pools of knowledge outside their place of origin, creating locational portfolios of complementary, place-specific assets. The multiple embeddedment of subsidiaries within an MNE network across different geographies and in the local economy enables them to act as conduits for multidirectional knowledge flows between places, with potential contributions to local and regional innovation and development. Policy makers in virtually all countries and regions have adopted a variety of measures and incentives to attract MNEs in order to leverage these potential benefits. This special session invites papers that explore the linkages between regional innovation and economic development and Foreign Investment and Multinationals by looking at: a) location behaviour and strategies; b) local innovation and economic development impacts; c) local and regional policies.

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