Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography

June 26, 2018

# 18.25 Rethinking Path Creation: A Geographical Political Economy Approach

Danny Mackinnon & Stuart Dawley & Andy Pike & Andrew Cumbers


Abstract: A burgeoning strand of Evolutionary Economic Geography (EEG) research is addressing questions of regional path creation, based upon the idea that place-specific legacies and conditions play a critical role in supporting the emergence of new economic activities. Yet there has been little effort thus far to take stock of this emerging body of research. In response, the aims of this paper are to offer a fresh synthesis of recent work and to develop a broader theoretical framework to inform future research. First, it presents a critical appraisal of the state of the art in path creation research. In an effort to address identified gaps in EEG research, this incorporates insights from sociological perspectives, the global production networks (GPN) approach and transition studies. Second, the paper’s development of a systematic theoretical framework is based upon the identification of key dimensions of path creation and their constitutive inter-relations. This contribution is underpinned by a geographical political economy (GPE) approach which provides the ontological basis for the integration of the five key dimensions of path creation within an overarching framework and the positioning of regional processes in relation to the broader dynamics of uneven development. Informed by GPE, the argument is that knowledgeable actors, operating within multi-scalar institutional environments, create paths through the strategic coupling of regional and extra-regional assets to mechanisms of path creation and associated markets. To inform further research, the paper outlines four concrete propositions regarding the operation of path creation processes in different types of regions and explores these through case studies of Berlin and Pittsburgh.


March 15, 2018

# 18.13 What drives the geography of jobs in the US? Unpacking relatedness

Teresa Farinha Fernandes & Pierre-Alexandre Balland & Andrea Morrison & Ron Boschma


Abstract: There is ample evidence of regions diversifying in new occupations that are related to pre- existing activities in the region. However, it is still poorly understood through which mechanisms related diversification operates. To unpack relatedness, we distinguish between three mechanisms: complementarity (interdependent tasks), similarity (sharing similar skills) and local synergy (based on pure co-location). We propose a measure for each of these relatedness dimensions and assess their impact on the evolution of the occupational structure of 389 US Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) for the period 2005-2016. Our findings show that new jobs appearing in MSA’s are related to existing ones, while those more likely to disappear are more unrelated to a city’s jobs’ portfolio. We found that all three relatedness dimensions matter, but local synergy shows the largest impact on entry and exit of jobs in US cities.

March 6, 2018

# 18.12 Foreign-owned firms as agents of structural change in regions: the case of Hungary 2000-2009

Zoltán Elekes and Ron Boschma and Balázs Lengyel


Abstract: A growing body of literature shows that related diversification in regions is more common but unrelated diversification also happens. However, we have little understanding of what types of firms induce related and unrelated diversification in regions. We investigate the extent to which foreign-owned firms induce structural change in the capability base of 67 regions in Hungary between 2000 and 2009. Doing so, we aim to connect more tightly the disparate literatures of Evolutionary Economic Geography and International Business. Using novel methodology developed by Neffke et al. (2018), we find that foreign-owned firms show a higher deviation from the region’s average capability match than domestic firms, and therefore, tend to contribute more to structural change in regions.

# 18.11 On the evolution of the Castel Goffredo hosiery cluster: A life cycle perspective

Giulio Carli and Andrea Morrison


Abstract: The life cycle approach has become popular in studies on industrial clusters. However, some concerns have been raised over the inherent determinism of this approach and its tendencies to focus exclusively on cluster internal dynamics while neglecting the role of external factors and socio-economic contingencies. This paper addresses these criticisms by investigating the long term development of Castel Goffredo, a traditional textile cluster in Italy. In our analysis we identify and characterise the main stages of the life cycle and its antecedents. We singled out the main triggering factors behind each of these stages and show that a variety of factors, both external and internal to the cluster, contributed to its development. Our findings confirm that an adaptive cycle approach, which focuses also on contingencies and external factors, appear to be appropriate for investigating the long term evolution of clusters.

February 20, 2018

#18.10 Path creation, global production networks and regional development: a comparative international analysis of the offshore wind sector

Danny MacKinnon and Stuart Dawley and Markus Steen and Max-Peter Menzel and Asbjørn Karlsen and Pascal Sommer and Gard Hopsdal Hansen and Håkon Endresen Normann


Abstract: The question of how regions and nations develop new sources of industrial growth is of recurring interest in economic geography and planning studies. From an evolutionary economic geography (EEG) perspective, new growth paths emerge out of existing economic activities and their associated assets and conditions. In response to the micro-economic and endogenous focus of much EEG research, this paper utilises a broader evolutionary perspective on path creation which stresses the dynamic interplay between four sets of factors: regional assets; key economic and organisational actors; mechanisms of path creation; and multi-scalar institutional environments and policy initiatives. Reflecting the importance of extra-regional networks and institutions, this framework is also informed by the Global Production Networks (GPN) approach, which highlights the process of strategic coupling between firms and regions and its political and institutional mediation by state institutions at different spatial scales. We deploy this framework to investigate regional path creation in the context of renewable energy technologies, focusing specifically on the offshore wind industry. We adopt a comparative cross-national approach, examining the evolution of offshore wind in Germany, the UK and Norway. Of the three cases, Germany has developed the most deep-rooted and holistic path to date, characterised by leading roles in both deployment and manufacturing. By contrast, path creation in the UK and Norway has evolved in more partial and selective ways. The UK’s growth path is developing in a relatively shallow manner, based largely upon deployment and ‘outside in’ investment, whilst Norway’s path is emerging in an exogenous, ‘inside-out’ fashion around a fairly confined set of actors and deployment and supply functions. In conclusion, the paper emphasises the important role of national states in orchestrating the strategic coupling of regional and national assets to particular mechanisms of path creation.

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.

October 11, 2016

# 16.27 Industrial diversification in Europe: The differentiated role of relatedness

Jing Xiao, Ron Boschma, Martin Andersson


There is increasing interest in the drivers of industrial diversification, and how these depend on economic and industry structures. This paper contributes to this line of inquiry by analyzing the role of relatedness in explaining variations in industry diversification, measured as the entry of new industry specializations, across 173 European regions during the period 2004-2012. There are significant differences across regions in Europe in terms of industrial diversification. Relatedness has a robust positive influence on the probability that new industry specialization develops in a region. A novel finding is that the influence of relatedness on the probability of new industrial specializations depends on innovation capacity. We find that relatedness is a more important driver of diversification in regions with a weaker innovation capacity. The effect of relatedness appears to decrease monotonically as the innovation capacity of a local economy increases. This is consistent with the argument that high innovation capacity allows an economy to ‘break from its past’ and to develop, for the economy, truly new industry specializations. We infer from this that innovation capacity is a critical factor for economic resilience.

July 4, 2016

# 16.17 Towards a theory of regional diversification

Ron Boschma, Lars Coenen, Koen Frenken, Bernhard Truffer


This paper aims to develop a theoretical framework on regional diversification. Combining insights from the evolutionary economic geography literature and the transition literature, we argue that a theory of regional diversification should build on the current understanding of conditions for related diversification but additionally start to tackle processes of unrelated diversification by accounting for (1) the role of agency (institutional entrepreneurship) and the dynamic interplay between agency and context; (2) enabling and constraining factors at various spatial scales. We propose a typology of four regional diversification processes by cross-tabulating related versus unrelated diversification with niche creation versus regime adoption.

April 30, 2016

# 16.08 Resilience in the European Union: the effect of the 2008 crisis on the ability of regions in Europe to develop new industrial specializations

Jing Xiao, Ron Boschma, Martin Andersson


This paper adopts an evolutionary framework to the study of industrial resilience. We present a study on European regions and assess the extent to which the capacity of their economies to develop new industrial specializations is affected by the global economic crisis of 2008. We compare levels of industry entry in European regions in the period 2004-2008 and 2008-2012, i.e. before and after a major economic disturbance. Resilient regions are defined as regions that show high entry levels or even increase their entry levels after the shock. Industrial relatedness and population density exhibit a positive effect on regional resilience, especially on the entry of knowledge-intensive industries after the shock, while related variety per se shows no effect on regions being resilient or not.

June 1, 2015

# 15.18 Evolutionary Economic Geography

Ron Boschma and Koen Frenken


The chapter gives a brief overview of the most recent literature on Evolutionary Economic Geography (EEG). We describe how EEG has provided new and additional insights on a number of topics that belong to the core of the economic geography discipline: why do industries concentrate in space, how do clusters operate and evolve, how are innovation networks structured in space and how do they evolve over time, what types of agglomeration externalities induce urban and regional growth, how do regions diversify, and how do institutions and institutional change matter for the development of new growth paths in regions.

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