Regional Sustainability


Intellectual capital (IC) has become a universal performance indicator for the socioeconomic development of countries and regions. Based on a review of national intellectual capital (NIC) and regional intellectual capital (RIC) evaluation literature, we used the regional intellectual capital indicator (RICI) as a model for China’s RIC evaluation to indirectly understand China’s potential economic growth drivers. Specifically, we collected statistical data of 31 provinces (including municipalities and autonomous regions) in China from 2004 to 2016 to measure RICI and analyze its dynamic characteristics from temporal and spatial perspectives. In this paper, Delphi analysis was used to construct RICI model, and cluster analysis and exploratory spatial data analysis were used to analyze the temporal and spatial characteristics of RICI in China. The results showed that RICI, which represents China’s overall economic growth drivers, increases annually and is consistent with economic development level during the study period. Regarding the geo-spatial space, RICI follows the trend of “high in the east and low in the west”, gradually decreasing from eastern to western China. For RIC structure, the shape of the radar chart of IC structure located in the eastern coastal areas is usually biased towards strong external relational capital, while that in western China is generally biased towards structural capital. For spatial correlation, China’s RICI has dependence on geographical adjacent space and economic space. Our research can provide policy suggestions for the sustainable development of regional economy from an IC perspective.

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