Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography

September 5, 2017

# 17.20 The Determinants of Foreign Direct Investment in sub-Saharan Africa: What Role for Governance?

Andrés Rodríguez-Pose and Gilles Cols


For the past quarter of a century, foreign direct investment (FDI) flows have grown exponentially across the world. Sub-Saharan Africa has, however, lagged behind and only lured on average a mere 2% of global FDI. The investment that the region attracts tends, moreover, to be concentrated in a number of commodity-rich countries. Natural resources and the size of national markets have generally been considered as the main drivers of FDI. The quality of local institutions has, by contrast, attracted less attention. This paper uses institutional data for 22 countries in order to demonstrate that the quality of governance plays a far from negligible and enduring role in the distribution of FDI in sub-Saharan Africa. It is shown that factors such as political stability, government effectiveness, lower corruption, voice and accountability, and the rule of law not only are more important determinants of FDI than the size of local markets, but also that their influence on the capacity of African countries to attract FDI is long-lasting.


July 1, 2017

# 17.16 Industry Evolution in Varieties of Capitalism: a Comparison of the Danish and US Wind Turbine Industries

Max-Peter Menzel, Johannes Kammer


In this study, we combine Klepper’s framework on the evolution of industries with the Varieties of Capitalism approach to argue that industry evolution is mediated by institutional differences. We expect that new industries will evolve with a stronger connection to established industries in coordinated marked economies than in liberal market economies. Our assumptions are supported by the survival analysis of US and Danish wind turbine manufacturers from 1974 to 2014.

June 21, 2016

# 16.14 Institutions vs. ‘First-Nature’ Geography – What Drives Economic Growth in Europe’s Regions?

Filed under: 2016 — Tags: , , , , , — mattehartog @ 2:04 pm

Tobias Ketterer, Andrés Rodríguez-Pose


The debate on whether institutions or geography prevail in driving economic growth has been rife (e.g. Sachs 2003 vs. Rodrik et al. 2004). Most of the empirical analyses delving into this debate have focused on world countries, whose geographical and institutional conditions differ widely. Subnational analyses considering groups of countries with, in principle, more similar institutional and geographical conditions have been limited and tended to highlight that geography is more important than institutions at subnational level. This paper aims to address whether this is the case by investigating how differences in institutional and ‘first-nature’ geographical conditions have affected economic growth in Europe’s regions in the period 1995-2009. In the analysis we use a newly developed dataset including regional quality of government indicators and geographical charactersitics and employ 2-SLS and IV-GMM estimation techniques with a number of regional historical variables as instruments. Our results indicate that at a regional level in Europe institutions rule. Regional institutional conditions – and, particularly, government effectiveness and the fight against corruption – play an important role in shaping regional economic growth prospects. This does not imply, however, that geography is irrelevant. There is evidence of geographical factors affecting regional growth, although their impact is dwarfed by the overriding influence of institutions.

May 2, 2016

# 16.10 Quality of government and social capital as drivers of regional diversification in Europe

Filed under: 2016 — Tags: , , , — mattehartog @ 6:27 pm

Nicola Cortinovis, Jing Xiao, Ron Boschma, Frank van Oort


Industrial diversification is considered crucial for economies to prosper. Recent studies have shown that regional economies tend to diversify into sectors that are related to those already present in the region. However, no study yet has investigated the impact of regional institutions. The objective of the paper is to bring together the literatures on related diversification and institutions by analyzing how formal and informal institutions influence regional diversification. Analyzing 118 European regions in the period 2004 and 2012, we find evidence that institutions matter for regions to diversify into new industries. Bridging social capital is a key driver of regional diversification, in addition to relatedness, in contrast to quality of government in regions. Bonding social capital has a negative impact in regions with a low quality of government. This suggests that regional institutions relevant for structural change in regions are predominantly informal in character rather than formal, and bridging rather than bonding.

December 11, 2015

# 15.35 Government quality and the economic returns of transport infrastructure investment in European regions

Riccardo Crescenzi, Marco Di Cataldo, Andrés Rodríguez-Pose


Transport infrastructure investment is a cornerstone of growth-promoting strategies. However, in the case of Europe the relevant literature is increasingly failing to find a clear link between infrastructure investment and economic performance. This may be a consequence of overlooking the role of government institutions. This paper assesses the connection between regional quality of government and the returns of different types of road infrastructure in EU regions during the period between 1995 and 2009. The results unveil a strong influence of regional quality of government on the economic returns of transport infrastructure. In weak institutional contexts, investments in motorways – the preferred option by local governments – yield significantly lower returns than the more humble but possibly more efficient secondary road. Government institutions also affect the returns of transport maintenance investment.

July 15, 2015

# 15.23 Institutions and the Entrepreneurial Discovery Process for Smart Specialization

Andrés Rodríguez-Pose and Callum Wilkie


Smart specialization approaches to regional innovation policies have attracted, and in all likelihood will continue to attract, considerable attention. With this attention has come significant interest in one of the approach’s defining features: the ‘entrepreneurial discovery process’ (EDP). While this interest has yielded substantial progress in the development of a comprehensive collective understanding of the EDP, several important, even vital, aspects of the EDP remain ‘under-‘ or even ‘unaddressed’. This essay aims to fill what we consider to be two prominent gaps in the aforementioned collective understanding by, first, identifying the actors who are responsible for the EDP, investigating their respective roles, and exploring how they should be engaged, and, second, by dissecting the relationship between the EDP and the institutional context within which it occurs recognizing that institutions can exercise tremendous influence on the effectiveness and outcomes of the EDP. Four prominent conclusions emerge from this exercise – each of which is made explicit in the final section of the paper – that will hopefully contribute to the more effective implementation and execution of the EDP across diverse socioeconomic and institutional contexts.

October 27, 2014

# 14.21 Institutions and Diversification: Related versus Unrelated Diversification in a Varieties of Capitalism framework

Ron Boschma and Gianluca Capone


The Varieties of Capitalism literature has drawn little attention to industrial renewal and diversification, while the related diversification literature has neglected the institutional dimension of industrial change. Bringing together both literatures, the paper proposes that institutions have an impact on the direction of the diversification process, in particular on whether countries gain a comparative advantage in new sectors that are close or far from what is already part of their existing industrial structure. We investigate the diversification process in 23 developed countries by means of detailed product trade data in the period 1995-2010. Our results show that relatedness is a stronger driver of diversification into new products in coordinated market economies, while liberal market economies show a higher probability to move in more unrelated industries: their overarching institutional framework gives countries more freedom to make a jump in their industrial evolution. In particular, we found that the role of relatedness as driver of diversification into new sectors is stronger in the presence of institutions that focus more on ‘non-market’ coordination in the domains of labor relations, corporate governance relations, product market relations, and inter-firm relations.

October 6, 2014

# 14.19 The Technological Resilience of U.S. Cities

Pierre-Alexandre Balland, David Rigby & Ron Boschma


We study the resilience of cities by analyzing their relative capacity to sustain the production of technological knowledge in the face of adverse events. Using patent applications in 366 Metropolitan Statistical Areas in the United States from 1975 to 2002, we analyze the vulnerability and response of cities to technological crises. We define episodes of technological crisis as periods of sustained negative growth in patenting activity. We find that the frequency, intensity and duration of technological crises vary considerably across American cities. We test whether the technological knowledge bases of cities, their network openness and institutional environment condition their resilience to technological crises. Econometric analysis suggests that cities with knowledge bases that are diverse, flexible and that have a high degree of relatedness to technologies in which they do not currently possess comparative advantage tend to avoid technological crises, have limited downturns in patent production and faster recovery.

April 21, 2014

# 14.11 The Effect of Regional Entrepreneurship Culture on Economic Development – Evidence for Germany

Michael Fritsch and Michael Wyrwich


We use the historical self-employment rate as an indicator of a regional culture of entrepreneurship and link this measure to economic growth in recent periods. The results indicate that German regions with a high level of entrepreneurship in the mid-1920s have higher start-up rates about 80 years later. Furthermore, we find that the effect of current start-up activity on regional employment is significantly higher in regions with a pronounced entrepreneurial culture. We conclude that a regional culture of entrepreneurship is an important resource for regional growth.

February 3, 2014

# 14.06 Quality of government and innovative performance in the regions of Europe

Filed under: 2014 — Tags: , , , , — mattehartog @ 2:48 pm

Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, Marco Di-Cataldo


Although it has frequently been argued that the quality of institutions affects the innovative potential of a territory, the link between institutions and innovation remains a black box. This paper aims to shed light on how institutions shape innovative capacity, by focusing on how regional government quality affects innovative performance in the regions of Europe. By exploiting new data on quality of government (QoG), we assess how government quality and its components (control of corruption, rule of law, government effectiveness and government accountability) shape patenting capacity across the regions of the European Union (EU). The results of the analysis – which are robust to controlling for the endogeneity of institutions – provide strong evidence of a causal link between the quality of local governments and the capacity of territories to generate innovation. In particular, low quality of government becomes a fundamental barrier for the innovative capacity of the periphery of the EU, strongly undermining any potential effect of any other measures aimed at promoting greater innovation. The results have important implications for the definition of innovation strategies in EU regions.

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