Understanding Remigration and Innovation – An Appeal for a Cultural Economic Geography

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Abstract

The acquisition of new knowledge is a crucial capital of highly skilled remigrants and its utilisation in home countries can play a major role for regional economic development. By reviewing the remigration literature it is shown that remigrants are able to create innovation in their home countries and promote regional development. But also theoretical deficits can be identified regarding the structural conditions of transferring new knowledge across regions which precedes potential innovation processes. Recent theoretical ideas cannot sufficiently explain why remigrants become innovative to varying degrees depending on their home regions. A cultural approach of economic geography is needed to highlight the cultural construction of the economy. It allows for remigrants to be perceived as knowledge brokers, which crucially influences the returnee’s capacity to innovate.

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