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.


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.

January 6, 2018

# 18.01 Biotech by Bricolage? Agency, institutional relatedness and new path development in peripheral regions

Luís Carvalho & Mário Vale


This paper develops a framework to understand new industrial path development in peripheral regions based on notions of ‘bricolage’ and ‘institutional relatedness’. While the first stresses the agency of (heterogeneous) actors’ resourcefulness and strategic improvisation co-shaping new industrial paths, the latter highlights the transposition of related institutional settings within regions to amplify (or to limit) the search space for new industries. These arguments are used in conjunction to explain the development of an unlikely biotechnology path in the Portuguese Centro region, analysed since its emergence and over a period of more than ten years.

July 15, 2015

# 15.20 Regional Industrial Evolution in China: Path Dependence or Path Creation?

Canfei He, Yan Yan and David Rigby


The evolutionary economic geography indicates that regional industrial development is path dependent. The path dependence approach however ignores the external factors, which may create new paths of regional development. Moreover, it does not pay much attention to the role of institutions. Both external factors and institutions are crucial to understand the regional industrial evolution in China. Based on firm level data of Chinese manufacturing industries during 1998-2008, this study examined the industrial evolution through the lens of entry and exit of four digit industries at the Chinese prefectures. Using a measure of co-occurrence based technological relatedness, we apply a logit model to link industry entry and exit to technological relatedness. We find significant evidence that regions branch into new industries which are technologically related to the existing industries and related industries are less likely to exit. Related globalization also encourages the entry of new related industries and discourages the exit of related industries. Further analysis reveals that economic transition has created favorable conditions to allow a larger role of technological relatedness. New industries are more likely to enter regions which are globalized, liberalized and fiscally independent, indicating that economic transition has also generated opportunities for Chinese regions to create new paths of industrial development.

October 8, 2012

# 12.19 Path dependence research in regional economic development: Cacophony or knowledge accumulation?

Filed under: 2012 — Tags: , , , — mattehartog @ 8:43 am

Martin Henning, Erik Stam, Rik Wenting


The concept of path dependence has gained momentum in the social sciences, particularly in economic geography. In this paper, we explore the empirical literature on path dependence and path creation in regional economic development. We offer a critical reflection on these studies and outline commonalities and problems in research designs and empirical testing. Our review suggests that the popularity of the concept of path dependence in regional studies has led to a cacophony of studies rather than a purposeful accumulation of knowledge around the concept. To remedy this situation, we identify gaps and suggest guidelines for future empirical research on the role of path creation and path dependence in uneven regional development.

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