The paper extends available findings on the antecedents and impact of the firm’s absorptive capacity. Innovation cooperation is recognized as a driver of its potential side (PAC). Considering different forms of proximity, we expect to find a higher impact for interactions occurring between close partners. Human capital (HC) is expected to be as important as other organizational mechanisms for the innovation impact of PAC. An empirical application with Community Innovation Survey data confirms these arguments only partially. The firm’s cooperation with geographically closer partners (i.e., in the same country) increases its PAC, but it is cooperation with institutionally distant ones (e.g., research organizations) that augments it. Among the integration mechanisms of external knowledge, those increasing the firm’s HC are the only ones that positively moderate the innovation impact of PAC.
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