This paper studies the role played by factors that are considered central to the concept of smart specialization on firm performance in a European context. The focus is on the type of spatial spillovers that occur at the level of the firm, which are connected to technological relatedness and knowledge externalities. The influence of such externalities is studied using firm-level data on firms located across Europe and unobserved heterogeneity and spatial dependencies are modelled by employing a multilevel model. Diverging patterns across the urban-rural range are studied by applying a regional typology. Findings indicate that measures thought to reflect smart specialization are positively associated with firm performance. It is also found that indicators of smart specialization do not affect firm performance homogenously across the studied regions.
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