Papers in Economic Geography and Innovation Studies

PEGIS.2019/11 Simon Baumgartinger-Seiringer, Johan Miörner, Michaela Trippl: Towards a stage model of regional industrial path transformationABSTRACT: Arguably, the debate on innovation-based structural change in Evolutionary Economic Geography (EEG) reflects a strong dichotomy between on-going continuation and radical change of industrial path development. In this paper we argue that radical innovation activities can occur within existing paths without necessarily leading to their dissolution. Departing from a systemic perspective of path development, we propose a stage model of path transformation. We outline how radical change becomes initiated, reinforced and finally consolidated in established industrial paths. Particular attention is devoted to the ways in which multiple actors – influenced by ‘the past’ and driven by visions and expectations (that is, ‘the future’) – exert agency to stimulate asset modification processes that are assumed to underpin path transformation and the reconfiguration of the wider support structures. The framework is applied to the analysis of the automotive industry in West Sweden, which is currently transforming towards the development of self-driving cars., 2019
PEGIS.2019/10 Yijia Chen, Robert Hassink: Multi-scalar knowledge bases for new regional industrial path development: Toward a typologyABSTRACT: The topic of new regional industrial path development has recently received increasing attention in economic geography. The core idea is that actors in a specific region mobilize both intra-regional and extra-regional resources, especially knowledge, to develop a new regional industrial path. However, the extant literature has not yet fully explored how actors in different types of regions mobilize different forms of knowledge at various spatial scales to develop different types of paths. To fill this gap, we establish an analytical framework combining four key theoretical concepts, that is, new regional industrial path development, regional innovation systems, differentiated knowledge bases and multi-scalar knowledge sourcing. Drawing on this framework, we propose a typology distinguishing six scenarios., 2019
PEGIS.2019/09 Henrik Brynthe Lund, Markus Steen: Make at home or abroad? Manufacturing reshoring through a GPN lensABSTRACT: The explorative paper investigates the drivers for the emerging trend of manufacturing reshoring from low- to high-cost locations. To date research on the reshoring phenomenon has been dominated by micro-level analyses of firms in supply chain management and reported in international business literature. To provide a better understanding of the reshoring phenomenon, the authors of the paper employ five key concepts from the global production network (GPN) framework in their analysis. With the multiscalar lens provided by the GPN framework, they find that the implementation of advanced manufacturing technologies is a driver for manufacturing reshoring, but only when matched with key regional assets such as automation knowledge and competence, key human capital, and region-specific manufacturing competence. Additionally, reshoring decisions are influenced by extra-regional factors such as changes in the global economy and market fluctuations. Furthermore, the paper provides a refined conceptualization of strategic coupling processes by including acts of disinvestments and reinvestments performed by actors within global production networks. Accordingly, the authors advocate a more nuanced understanding, defined as partial coupling processes, in contrast to the predominant understanding of coupling processes as ruptured. This refined conceptualization provides enhanced analytical purchase when studying the reshoring phenomenon, as it illuminates the complexity of firms’ production and sourcing strategies and the resulting implications for the economic landscape., 2019
PEGIS.2019/08 Jiří Blažek, Viktor Květoň, Simon Baumgartinger-Seiringer, Michaela Trippl: The dark side of regional industrial path development: towards a typology of trajectories of declineABSTRACT: Over the past few years, scholarly debates on new path development have attracted increasing attention within the economic geography literature. This work distinguishes various trajectories of regional and industrial evolution. So far, these evolutionary trajectories have been mainly conceptualised as ‘positive’ forms of path development. However, in reality, many regions are undergoing phases that can be characterised as ‘negative’ trajectories. Despite their potentially detrimental social and political effects, ‘negative’ pathways have to date largely been ignored in the extant literature. Drawing on the adaptive cycle model of socioeconomic systems, we aim to shed light on the ‘dark side’ of path development by developing a typology of what we call ‘pathways of decline’. The paper identifies conceptually three forms of negative pathways, that is, path contraction, path downgrading and path delocalisation and provides empirical illustrations for each of them., 2019
PEGIS.2019/07 Jakob Eder, Michaela Trippl: Innovation in the periphery: compensation and exploitation strategiesABSTRACT: Recent research has challenged the urban bias in economic geography and innovation studies, showing that novelty generation also takes place in peripheral regions. So far, however, analyses focus on how firms innovate despite their unfavourable location and little is said about innovation benefits of peripheral areas. Hence, this article identifies different compensation and exploitation strategies adopted by firms in order to overcome regional innovation constraints and to reap innovation benefits found in the periphery. Drawing on empirical evidence from Austria, our qualitative analysis reveals that innovation in peripheral regions is the outcome of a combination of compensation and exploitation practices., 2019
PEGIS.2019/06 Elena Goracinova, David A. Wolfe: Regional Resilience and the Future of Ontario’s Automotive Sector in the Age of Digital DisruptionABSTRACT: The global automotive industry is currently experiencing the greatest disruption it has faced in over a century. The advent of connected, autonomous and electric vehicles and the popularity of ride sharing services are transforming the industry to one that is increasing referred to as transportation as a service (TaaS), transforming the customer experience and potentially shifting the entire industry sector away from private modes of transportation. Substantial uncertainty exists as to whether traditional automotive hubs in Automotive Alley will remain central to the growing digitization of the automotive industry or whether they will be replaced by new geographies with greater strength in digital technologies. This paper explores the extent to which efforts currently underway in the southern Ontario automotive cluster to meet the challenge of digitization in the auto industry are laying the foundations for a process of new path creation or modernization and institutional reconfiguration. The paper argues that the strength of Ontario’s regional innovation system (RIS) and growing OEM R&D investments provide expanding opportunities for the cluster to remain competitive either by 1) firms upgrading or moving up the value chain by strengthening skills and production capabilities; or 2) modernizing on the basis of connected or electric vehicle technologies or organizational innovations. The focus of the study are the current efforts on the part of OEMs to adapt to this rapidly changing technological paradigm and the role played by current federal and provincial policies to intensify regional knowledge linkages. The paper concludes with a discussion of the possible trajectory for the future development of the region’s automotive cluster., 2019
PEGIS.2019/05 Maximilian Benner: Smart specialisation and institutional context: What does it mean for path development?ABSTRACT: The smart specialization approach is the currently dominant concept of industrial and regional policy in the European Union. During its implementation in recent years, the approach generated a wide range of policy experimentation on how to develop smart specialization strategies (RIS3), and how to do so in a participatory public-private dialogue commonly called entrepreneurial discovery process (EDP). Building on theories known from institutional economic geography, this paper argues that the smart specialization exercise is inextricably linked with the institutional context of regional (or national) economies, and that both the RIS3 developed and the preceding EDP have the potential to affect the institutional context. By doing so, drafting and implementing a RIS3 conditions different forms of evolutionary dynamics in a regional economy. The article presents some conceptual thoughts for the relationship between institutions, evolution, and path development within the context of smart specialization, and suggests areas for further research in view of post-2020 cohesion policy., 2019
PEGIS.2019/04 Bjørnar Sæther, Eivind Merok: The Construction and Deconstruction of a Norwegian Forest Industrial Regime 1980-2017ABSTRACT: The evolving paths of natural resource-based industries, such as the forest industries, are volatile to new technologies and changing markets. The volatilities of a Norwegian forest industrial regime are studied in this paper. Private forest owners and two firms have been the key actors in the regime. Since the 1960s and until the early 2000s, these actors and the relations between them defined a national regime of forest industrial evolution. Financialization among forest owners combined with a strategy of debt financed global expansion within newsprint production at the turn of the century initiated the decline of the regime. Managers did not understand the growth of electronic media, and the consequences this would have on the previously successful business model of global capacity management. Lack of innovation and investments combined with cross border rescaling contributed to national deindustrialization of the forest industries. Norwegian pulpwood has become a precondition for continued Swedish forest industrial expansion. The materiality of logs being the basis for two interdependent industrial paths is highlighted as part of the reason behind this rescaling., 2019
PEGIS.2019/03 Markus Grillitsch, Josephine Rekers, Franz Tödtling: When drivers of clusters shift scale from local towards global: What remains for regional innovation policy?ABSTRACT: Industries and regional economies evolve as a result of the interplay between local and non-local factors. Increasing globalization of both production- and innovation activities implies a shift in the relevant scales of interaction from the local towards the global level. This paper is concerned with the implications of such scale shifts for the role of the region and for cluster-related regional policies. It examines what is left of the role of regional settings in fostering economic development when extra-regional drivers of change increase in importance. We investigate this crucial question with two in-depth case studies of the medical technologies sector, in which such scale shifts have been particularly pronounced. Our findings from empirical material collected in Scania/Sweden and Vienna/Austria illustrate the ways in which changes in national and supra-national regulatory frameworks have had a profound impact on the innovation activities of individual firms and the way to develop and launch new products, and subsequently on the regions in which they cluster. Such scale-shifts have on the one hand limited the potential for regional policy to shape the cluster’s path through support for supply-side factors. Yet some critical assets remain local but are increasingly difficult to access. By addressing such barriers to access, regional policy can still strongly affect the opportunities for innovation. Furthermore, in an increasingly open industry system, we see an expanded role for regional policy in supporting firms to access critical assets and sources of innovation found external to the region., 2019
PEGIS.2019/02 Arne Isaksen, Michaela Trippl, Nina Kyllingstad, Jan Ole Rypestøl: Digital transformation of regional industries: The link between new path development, innovation system dynamics and asset modificationABSTRACT: The paper develops a conceptual framework for analysing wide-ranging ‘digital transformation processes’ of regional industries. We regard digital transformation as consisting of three main activities; development of scientific principles, making of digital products and services, and application of these in production and work processes. The paper advocates a comprehensive framework that challenges established economic geography approaches, which propagate firm-based views and centre stage skill and technological relatedness, in interpreting how digital transformation occurs. We discuss the role of institutional environments, focus on other actors besides firms and take a broader view on assets beyond firm capabilities, skills and technological knowledge. The paper thus provides an alternative conceptual framework for understanding digital transformation processes in regional industries, which we illustrate with one example from each of the main ‘digital activities’., 2019
PEGIS.2019/01 Michaela Trippl, Simon Baumgartinger-Seiringer, Alexandra Frangenheim, Arne Isaksen, Jan Ole Rypestøl: Green path development, asset modification and agency: towards a systemic integrative approachABSTRACT: Regions across the world are facing to an ever-increasing extent the pressure to find solutions to adverse environmental impacts of economic development. Tackling such challenges requires major restructuring efforts by nurturing new green growth paths and promoting green shifts in mature industries. The paper aims to explore conceptually and based on illustrative empirical examples from the literature how green restructuring unfolds in regions. We propose a systemic integrative approach that distinguishes between various types of green path development and links them to reconfiguration processes of innovation systems. Our framework elucidates how green restructuring and system transformation are related to various types of modifying the region’s asset base and provides insights into the role of agency at the firm and system level in bringing about such changes., 2019
PEGIS.2018/06 Alexandra Frangenheim, Michaela Trippl, Camilla Chlebna: Beyond the 'single path view': Inter-path relationships in regional contextsABSTRACT: Recurrent economic and financial crises, globalisation, digitalisation and climate change are posing major challenges for regional economies to constantly renew their industrial structures. Over the past few years much progress has been made in understanding how new path development unfolds in a regional context. However, most conceptualisations and empirical analyses to date have mainly been focused on one new path or path development activities in one nascent industry only. Potential relationships between emerging paths have been neglected and as a consequence little is known about how new paths shape each other’s evolution. This paper develops a framework to analyse the nature of relationships between multiple new regional growth paths. We suggest that paths are either linked or unlinked and we discuss the role of agency in shaping the relationship between linked paths to be either supportive, competitive or neutral towards each other. We conclude by discussing implications for policy and identifying avenues for future research., 2018
PEGIS.2018/05 Giuseppe Calignano, Rune Dahl Fitjar, Nina Hjertvikrem: Innovation networks and green restructuring: Which path development can EU Framework Programmes stimulate in Norway?ABSTRACT: This paper examines the engagement of different regions in Norway in the EU’s environmental programmes. The aim is to explore the programmes’ potential for supporting green restructuring through branching and new path creation. The paper assesses which regions participate in the programmes, which international networks they build, and which organisations participate in different regions. It compares three regions with different restructuring needs and research capacity – Rogaland, Hordaland and Sør-Trøndelag. Overall, Norwegian organisations participate relatively frequently in the programmes, but private firms play a marginal role. Their partners are mainly in core EU regions. Regional participation in the programmes is a function of research capacity as well as oil dependence. However, in research-oriented regions, research establishments tend to dominate participation, creating potential for restructuring mainly through path creation. In oil-dependent regions, private firms account for a higher share of participants, enhancing the potential for branching. As the former regions participate more, the programme can mainly stimulate path creation., 2018
PEGIS.2018/04 Johan Miörner, Michaela Trippl: Embracing the future: Path transformation and system reconfiguration for self-driving cars in West SwedenABSTRACT: The past years have witnessed a surge of academic interest into how new industrial paths are developed in regions. Transformation processes of existing regional industries have received less attention in recent work. We introduce the notion of ‘path transformation’ to describe a form of path development taking place within mature industries where both input and output factors are substantially altered and investigate how regional innovation systems are tackling challenges related to path transformation processes. Drawing on insights from the regional and technological innovation systems literatures, we develop an analytical framework that aims to elucidate the relation between path transformation and system reconfiguration. The framework suggests that regional system elements are layered or adapted to i) target the build-up of system functions regionally; ii) link up to system functions in other locations, and iii) transplant system functions from elsewhere to the region. The analytical framework is applied to an empirical case study of the transformation of the automotive industry in West Sweden towards self-driving cars. The empirical analysis provides support for the importance of the three types of system reconfiguration suggested by the framework, and emphasises the relevance of different types of resources. Furthermore, it highlights how actors tend to utilise previous networks and positions in global innovation systems rather than turning to the development of system functions regionally as the ‘default option’ of system reconfiguration., 2018
PEGIS.2018/03 Maximilian Benner: Smart specialisation and institutions: Towards a process of institutional discovery and changeABSTRACT: Recent years have seen much experimentation with smart specialization strategies (RIS3) and their entrepreneurial process of discovery (EDP) in European regions. From the point of view of relational and evolutionary economic geography, the EDP can be seen as an opportunity to address institutional questions. This is important because institutions can explain why some policies are eventually successful while others are not. This article argues that the EDP is a vehicle for regional stakeholders and policymakers to discover institutional patterns specific to the context of the regional or national economy, and to define policies either consistent with existing institutions or aiming at institutional change. Doing so is important because designing context-specific regional policies such as a RIS3 requires a deep understanding of the institutional context of the economy. The article proposes a framework to understand and analyze the two roles of the EDP in terms of institutions: First as an institutional discovery process, and second as an institutional change process. The article builds on evidence from empirical case studies in two regions (Lower Austria, Austria and Bolzano-Alto Adige/South Tyrol, Italy) and two small countries (Slovenia and Croatia). The case studies focus on how these regions and countries organized the EDP that eventually led to the definition of their RIS3, and on the institutional dynamics of EDPs in discovering and changing institutions. The article concludes by proposing policy implications that contribute to the present debate on post-2020 EU Cohesion Policy., 2018
PEGIS.2018/02 Robert Hassink, Arne Isaksen, Michaela Trippl: Towards a comprehensive understanding of new regional industrial path developmentABSTRACT: New regional industrial path development is a key concept in economic geography, as it contributes to explaining regional economic inequalities and forms the basis for place-based innovation policies. So far, particularly scholars within the Utrecht school of evolutionary economic geography have pioneered research on this topic. In this paper, we critically discuss their work and conclude that their understanding of path development is too narrow. We develop a future research agenda, which stresses the need to develop a multi-actor and multi-scalar approach, to integrate the future into analyses of path development and to offer a broader view on inter-path relations., 2018
PEGIS.2018/01 Michaela Trippl, Elena Zukauskaite, Adrian Healy: Shaping Smart Specialisation: The Role of Place-Specific Factors in Advanced, Intermediate and Less-Developed European RegionsABSTRACT: This paper examines the ways by which organisational and institutional features of regional innovation systems shape smart specialisation practices in less-developed, intermediate and advanced regions. Drawing on research from 15 European regions, we show that the implantation of smart specialisation creates challenges in all three types of regions. At the same time there is evidence that smart specialisation supports policy learning and system building efforts in less-developed regions and facilitates policy re-orientation and system transformation in more advanced regions., 2018
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