Social capital and innovation: a comparative analysis of regional policies

Lyndon Murphy (Lead Author), Robert Huggins, Piers Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper analyses how different forms of social capital are associated with different types of innovation across regional policy interventions. Taking the case of a continuum of three policy interventions incorporating both ‘hard’/traditional and ‘soft’/non-traditional innovation measures, the analysis finds that differing regional innovation programmes are connected with different forms of social capital generation. Significant associations are found between the types of innovation generated and differing forms of social capital. In particular, the elements of social capital associated with the benefits of social networks is positively related to softer forms of innovation. However, there is also evidence that the positive influence of social networks varies in strength across policy interventions, suggesting a strong contextual and environmental influence on this relationship. It is concluded that social capital should not be considered a panacea for increasing levels of innovative activity within regional policy programmes.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironment and Planning C: Government and Policy
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jul 2015


  • social capital
  • innovation
  • policy
  • regions
  • hidden innovation
  • social innovation
  • Wales


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