Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography

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

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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.

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July 20, 2015

# 15.24 How to jump further? Path dependent and path breaking in an uneven industry space

Shengjun Zhu, Canfei He & Yi Zhou

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By using the proximity product index, recent studies have argued that regional diversification emerged as a path-dependent process, as regions often branch into industries that are related to preexisting industrial structure. It is also claimed that developed countries that start from the core, dense areas in the uneven industry space have more opportunities to jump to new related industries and therefore have more opportunities to sustain economic growth than do developing countries that jump from peripheral, deserted areas. In this paper, we differentiate two types of regional diversification—path-dependent and path-breaking—and ask questions from a different angle: can developing countries/regions jump further in the industry space to break path-dependent development trajectories and more importantly to catch up with developed ones? Based on China’s export data, this paper shows that regions can jump further by investing in extra-regional linkages and internal innovation. Not only do these two sets of factors promote regions’ jumping capability, but they also contribute to regions’ capability of maintaining a comparative advantage in technologically distant and less related industries. In addition, different extra-regional linkage and internal innovation factors have affected regional diversification to different extents, and these effects also vary across regions and industries. Empirically, this research seeks to find a more promising future for developing countries/regions. Theoretically, our research testifies some key findings of theoretical works in evolutionary economic geography by using a quantitative framework. In addition, this paper includes some economic and institutional factors that have been left out in previous studies.

January 15, 2014

# 14.03 Trust your neighbour. Industrial relatedness, social capital and outsourcing

Roberto Antonietti, Maria Rosaria Ferrante, Riccardo Leoncini

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Relying on a unique dataset of small, machine-tool firms located in Emilia Romagna, Italy, we estimate the separate effects of industrial relatedness and social capital on the propensity to fully or partially outsource production activities. We focus on a series of 29 production phases, for which we have information on whether they are accomplished in-house or outside the firm. After controlling for endogeneity, we find that: (i) full outsourcing is positively related to social capital, but this effect vanishes as industrial proximity with neighbouring firms increases; and (ii) firms engage in concurrent sourcing only when industrial relatedness with neighbouring firms is high. Also phase estimates show that: (iii) while social capital matters for full outsourcing of core activities, for full outsourcing of peripheral activities it is industrial relatedness that is relevant; and (iv) there is no significant effect of either industrial relatedness or social capital on the concurrent sourcing of core and peripheral activities.

January 14, 2014

# 14.02 Banks, industrial relatedness and firms’ investments

Roberto Antonietti, Giulio Cainelli, Monica Ferrari, Stefania Tomasini

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In this paper, we study whether industrial relatedness affects firms’ fixed investment behaviour, and whether this relationship is linked also to the operational and organizational proximity between banks and local economies. By estimating different specifications of a dynamic investment equation on an unbalanced panel of Italian manufacturing firms for the period 2000-2007, we find that industrial relatedness boosts fixed investments by lowering their sensitivity to cash flow. This occurs because in technologically related areas banks benefit from lower screening and monitoring costs, easier re-allocation of property rights, and higher likelihood of establishing extended credit relationships with firms. However, we find also that the positive effect of industrial relatedness on investments disappears as the functional distance between local branches and their headquarters increases: more hierarchical and less embedded banks find it more difficult to collect tacit information on inter-firm production and financial linkages at the local level and therefore reduce credit provision.

October 14, 2013

# 13.19 Who acquires whom? The role of geographical proximity and industrial relatedness in Dutch domestic M&As between 2002 and 2008

Nils Ellwanger and Ron Boschma

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In economic geography, geographical proximity has been identified as a key driver of M&A activity. In this context, little attention has yet been drawn to the effect of industrial relatedness, which refers to the similarity and complementarity of business activities. We examine 1,855 domestic M&A deals announced between 2002 and 2008 in the Netherlands, and we assess the extent to which geographical proximity and industrial relatedness affect M&A partnering. Our study shows that geographical proximity drives domestic M&A deals, even at very detailed spatial scales like the municipality level. We also found evidence that companies that share the same or complementary industries are more likely to engage in an M&A deal. Logistic regressions show that the effect of industrial relatedness is stronger than the effect of geographical proximity.

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