Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography

March 20, 2017

# 17.07 The spatial evolution of the Italian motorcycle industry (1893-1993): Klepper’s heritage theory revisited

Andrea Morrison, Ron Boschma


This paper investigates the spatial evolution of the Italian motor cycle industry during the period 1893-1993. We find support for both the heritage theory of Klepper and the agglomeration thesis of Marshall. Indeed, being a spinoff company or an experienced firm enhanced the survival rates, but we also found a positive effect of being located in the Motor Valley cluster in Emilia Romagna. Interestingly, this beneficial effect of a cluster could not be found outside the Emilia Romagna region. This might indicate the importance of a favourable local institutional environment, as propagated by the Emilian district literature.

September 8, 2015

# 15.29 Technological Relatedness and Firm Productivity: Do low and high performing firms benefit equally from agglomeration economies in China?

Filed under: 2015 — Tags: , , , — mattehartog @ 3:44 pm

Anthony J. Howell, Canfei He, Rudai Yang, Cindy Fan


Building on the evolutionary economic geography literature, we employ the density measure introduced by ? to dynamically track the impact of technological relatedness on firm productivity. We rely on advanced quantile regression techniques to determine whether technological relatedness stimulates productivity and whether the size of the effect varies for low and high performing firms. Lastly, taking China’s economic transition into account, we test whether changes in the local industrial mix brought about by China’s market reforms enable or inhibit performance-enhancing spillovers. We show that a dynamic tradeoff exists between agglomeration costs and benefits that depends, in part, on the firm’s placement along the productivity distribution: the effect of technological relatedness reduces productivity for the least performing firms, but enhances it for better performing firms. As a result, spillovers via technological relatedness lead to improvements in the geographical welfare by intensifying the learning effect for the vast majority of co-located firms, in spite of increasing productivity disparities between the bottom and top performing firms.

September 23, 2014

# 14.18 Do spinoff dynamics or agglomeration externalities drive industry clustering? A reappraisal of Steven Klepper’s work

Ron Boschma


Klepper’s theory of industry clustering based on organizational reproduction and inheritance through spinoffs challenged the Marshallian view on industry clustering. The paper provides an assessment of Klepper’s theoretical and empirical work on industry clustering. We explore how ‘new’ his spinoff theory on industry clustering was, and we investigate the impact of Klepper’s theory on the economic geography community. Klepper’s work has inspired especially very recent literature on regional branching that argues that new industries grow out of and recombine capabilities from local related industries. Finally, the paper discusses what questions on industry location are still left open or in need of more evidence in the context of Klepper’s theory.

November 24, 2012

# 12.22 Agglomeration vs. Organizational Reproduction: The Molds Cluster in Portugal

Filed under: 2012 — Tags: , , , , — mattehartog @ 10:25 am

Carla Costa and Rui Baptista


The mechanisms driving regional clustering are examined by exploring two theories: agglomeration economies and organizational reproduction. While organizational reproduction through spinoffs dominates clusters’ early stages of growth, in clusters populated by small, vertically disintegrated firms accessing networks of external capabilities, agglomeration economies should emerge as a positive force. We examine just such a cluster: the molds industry in Portugal. Our empirical approach is twofold: first, we examine the early evolution (1946–1986) of the industry; second, we use detailed data on firms and founders for the period 1987–2009 to test the predictions of the two theories. We find that while organizational reproduction has played a major role in clustering, agglomeration economies recently have gained influence.

February 12, 2012

# 12.03 Regional variety and employment growth in Italian labour market areas: services versus manufacturing industries

Filed under: 2012 — Tags: , , , , — mattehartog @ 6:00 pm

Francesca Mameli, Simona Iammarino, Ron Boschma


This paper investigates the impact of regional sectoral diversity on regional employment growth in Italy over the period 1991-2001. Assuming that externalities may be stronger between industries selling similar products or sharing the same skills and technology (i.e. related industries), we analyze the role of different forms of sectoral variety at the Local Labour System (LLS) level. Our results show strong evidence of a general beneficial effect of a diversified sectoral structure but suggest also the need to differentiate the analysis between manufacturing and services. In particular, overall local employment growth seems to be favoured by the presence of a higher variety of related service industries, while no role is played by related variety in manufacturing. When looking at diversity externalities between macro-aggregates, the service industry is affected by related variety in manufacturing, while no evidence of externalities is found from tertiary sectors to manufacturing.

March 15, 2010

#10.04 Localized Spillovers and Knowledge Flows: How Does Proximity Influence the Performance of Plants?

Rikard H. Eriksson


By means of a unique longitudinal database with information on all plants and employees in the Swedish economy, this paper analyzes how geographical proximity influences the impact of spillovers and knowledge flows on the productivity growth of plants. Concerning the effects of spillovers, we show that the density of economic activities as such mainly contributes to plant performance within a very short distance and that the composition of economic activities is more influential further away. Regarding the influence of local industrial setup, proximity increases the need to be located near different, but related, industries whereas increased distance implies a greater effect of intra-industry spillovers. The analyses also demonstrate that knowledge flows via the mobility of skilled labor is primarily a sub-regional phenomenon. Only inflows of skills that are related to the existing knowledge base of plants and come from less than 50 kilometers away have a positive effect on plant performance. Concerning outflows of skills, the results indicate that it is less harmful for a dispatching plant if a former employee remains within the local economy as compared to leaving for a job in another part of the national economy.

January 8, 2010

#10.01 The Aims and Scope of Evolutionary Economic Geography

Ron Boschma and Ron Martin


This aim of this paper is to present the objectives and scope of an evolutionary approach to economic geography. We argue that the goal is not only to utilise the concepts and ideas from evolutionary economics (and evolutionary thinking more broadly) to help interpret and explain how the economic landscape changes over historical time, but also to reveal how situating the economy in space adds to our understanding of the processes that drive economic evolution, that is to say, to demonstrate how geography matters in determining the nature and trajectory of evolution of the economic system. We will argue that evolutionary economic geography is concerned with the spatialities of economic novelty; with how the spatial structures of the economy emerge from the micro-behaviours of economic agents; with how, in the absence of central coordination or direction, the economic landscape exhibits self-organisation; and with how the processes of path creation and path dependence interact to shape geographies of economic development and transformation, and why and how such processes may themselves be place dependent. Economic transformation proceeds differently in different places, and the mechanisms involved neither originate nor operate evenly across space. Our concern is both with the ways in which the forces making for economic change, adaptation and novelty shape and reshape the geographies of wealth creation, work and welfare, and with how the spatial structures and features so produced themselves feed back to influence the forces driving economic evolution. In the final part, we summarize a number of papers that have contributed to evolutionary economic geography, and which will be published in The Handbook on Evolutionary Economic Geography that is edited by the two authors, and forthcoming at Edward Elgar.

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: