The PMI are assuming a growing importance as promoters of the economic industry, in particular in some of the most dynamic local productive systems in Europe. In spite of this, the majority of the PMI are affected by the lack of funds available to invest in research and development, a field traditionally considered to be the main source of innovation. This apparent contradiction has induced many studious to investigate the sources from which the PMI obtain their inputs of knowledge. Such investigation, which has tended to use patents as proxy of the public research activity, has shown that PMI are particuarly sensitive to the disclosures which derive from public and university research. In this essay, the matter is analysed by using, in place of the number of patents, a bibliometric indicator of the output of public research with regard to 99 Italian provinces during the nineties. The results highlight a strong geographical correlation between the teritorial concentration of the PMI and public research that, at the same time, such correlation is influenced by the size of the enterprize
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