Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography

July 1, 2017

# 17.17 Smart Specialization policy in the EU: Relatedness, Knowledge Complexity and Regional Diversification

Pierre-Alexandre Balland, Ron Boschma, Joan Crespo and David L. Rigby


Smart specialization has become a hallmark of the EU’s Cohesion Policy. Envisaged as a bottom-up initiative identifying local knowledge cores and associated competitive advantages, the operationalization of smart specialization has been rather limited, as a coherent set of analytical tools to guide the policy directives remains elusive. To tackle the weak underpinning of smart specialization policy, we propose a policy framework around the concepts of relatedness and knowledge complexity. We use EPO patent data to provide evidence on how EU regions develop new technologies in the period 1990-2009. We find that diversifying into more complex technologies is highly attractive but difficult for EU regions to accomplish. Regions can overcome this diversification dilemma by developing new complex technologies that build on local related capabilities. We use these findings to construct a policy framework for smart specialization that highlights the potential risks and rewards for regions of adopting competing diversification strategies. We show how potential costs of alternative strategies in regions may be assessed by making use of the relatedness concept, and how potential benefits of various smart specialization strategies can be derived from estimates of the complexity of technologies. A series of case-studies of different types of regions illustrate the utility of this policy framework.

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.

November 6, 2011

# 11.18 The cognitive and geographical composition of ego-networks of firms – and how they impact on their innovation performance

Tom Broekel and Ron Boschma


Firms’ embeddedness into knowledge networks has received much attention in the literature. However, little is known about the composition of firms’ ego-networks with respect to different types of proximities. Based on survey data of 295 firms in eight European regions, we show that the ego-networks of firms systematically differ in their geographical and cognitive embeddedness. We find that firms’ innovation performance is stimulated if the firm primarily links to technologically related firms as well as technologically similar organizations. Connecting with organizations at different geographical levels yields positive effects as well.

July 8, 2011

# 11.13 The place of new industries: the case of fuel cell technology and its technological relatedness to regional knowledge bases

Anne Nygaard Tanner


The evolutionary turn in economic geography has proposed that regional diversification is a path-dependent process whereby new industries grow out of preexisting industrial structures through technologically related localized knowledge spillover. This paper examines if this also applies for industries developed around emerging radical technology. I develop a new measure for technological relatedness between the knowledge base of the region and that of a radical technology, namely, fuel cells. It is demonstrated that even in the case of a high degree of radicalness and discontinuity, knowledge generation is still cumulative in its spatial and cognitive dimensions, corroborating the evolutionary thesis.

October 28, 2009

#09.16 How do regions diversify over time? Industry relatedness and the development of new growth paths in regions

Filed under: 2009 — Tags: , , , — Noegg Blogger @ 8:40 am

Frank Neffke and Martin Henning and Ron Boschma


The question of how new regional growth paths emerge has been raised by many leading economic geographers. From an evolutionary perspective, there are strong reasons to believe that regions are most likely to branch into industries that are technologically related to the preexisting industries in the region. Employing a new indicator of technological relatedness between manufacturing industries, we analyze the economic evolution of 70 Swedish regions during the period 1969-2002 using detailed plant-level data. Our analyses show that the long-term evolution of the economic landscape in Sweden is subject to strong path dependencies. Industries that were technologically related to pre-existing industries in a region had a higher probability to enter the region, as compared to unrelated industries. And unrelated industries had a higher probability to exit the region. Moreover, we found that industrial profiles of Swedish regions showed a high degree of technological coherence. Despite substantial structural change, this coherence was very persistent over time. Our methodology also proved useful when focusing on the economic evolution of one particular region. Our analysis showed that the Linköping region increased its industrial coherence during 30 years, due to the entry of industries that were closely related to its regional portfolio on the one hand, and the exit of industries that were technologically peripheral to its regional portfolio on the other hand. In sum, we find systematic evidence that the rise and fall of industries is strongly conditioned by industrial relatedness at the regional level.

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