This paper tracks university-to-firm patent citations rather than the more usual patent-to-patent or paper-to-patent citations. It explains regional and non-regional citations as a function of firms’ absorptive capacity and universities’ production capacity in the region rather than explaining citations as a function of distance between citing and cited regions. Using a dataset of European Union regions for the years 1997-2007, we find that fostering university R&D capacity increases the attractiveness of the local university’s knowledge base to firms in the region, but also reduces wider searches for university knowledge. Increasing the absorptive capacity of local business encourages firms to access university knowledge from outside the region.
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