iBEGIN 2019: International Business, Economic Geography and Innovation

iBEGIN 2019

Ports versus Portals: International Connectivity and the Bundling of Tangibles and Intangibles

June 22-23, 2019, Copenhagen Business School, Denmark

Since 2013, the iBEGIN community has aimed to integrate research on the intersection of the three fields of international business, economic geography, and technology/innovation studies. In addition to the conference theme, we welcome all paper submissions that address the broader iBEGIN research agenda.

Scholars have analyzed the role of advances in information and communication technology as a driver of dramatic changes in business processes and organization (Alcacer et al., 2016; Brynjolfsson & McAfee, 2014; Leamer & Storper, 2001). The emergence of global value chains and the resulting co-evolution of firms and locations may be seen as a particular case of this wide ranging mega trend (Cano-Kollmann et al., 2016; Turkina & Van Assche, 2018). An exponential growth in computing power combined with an equally impressive expansion in the network capacity have dramatically reduced both the costs and risks of transmitting codified knowledge across borders. These trends have facilitated MNEs’ ability to tap into previously non-accessible knowledge pockets, allowing them to build key complementarities between intangible assets from different locations (Bathelt et al., 2004; Zhao, 2006).

There are a number of crucial questions related to the conference theme that conference organisers believe are important for both theory and policy:

  • How dependent are intangibles on tangibles for their value creation? Are these tangibles disproportionately sourced locally or imported?
  • How important is goods trade for the inter-firm transfer of intangible knowledge
  • How does maritime and air connectivity matter for a location’s innovation performance and international innovation partnerships?
  • How has the structure of the maritime and air transport network evolved, and why?
  • How does spatial heterogeneity at different geographical scales drive the location choice and network design of terminal operators, shipping lines and air cargo companies?
  • What is the role of the network of representatives, branch offices and third-party intermediaries established by shipping lines, as well as their collaborators in conferences, consortia and alliances in shaping the shipping lines’ internationalization strategies?
  • Have ports and clusters changed their international connectivity strategies in response to global value chains and the rising importance of intangibles?
  • What are the internationalization strategies of multinational port terminal operators, shipping lines and air cargo companies?
  • How can government policy strengthen locations’ logistics performance (in terms of liner and air shipping connectivity) in the era of global value chains?


  • Submission of extended abstracts: February 1, 2019
  • Authors notified by: February 15, 2019
  • Conference dates: June 22-23, 2019.


  • Submit extended abstracts to: 2019ibeginconference@gmail.com
  • Submission format: extended abstracts (“SMS-style” submissions – 5-7 pages)


  • Program Co-chairs: Henrik Sornn-Friese (hs.si@cbs.dk) and Ari Van Assche (ari.vanassche@hec.ca)
  • iBEGIN Convener: Ram Mudambi (ram.mudambi@temple.edu)

Find more information downloading the conference call.