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  • RODRIGUEZ-POSE Andres (8)
  • KEMENY Thomas (5)
  • FAROLE Thomas (4)
  • SCOTT Allen J. (3)
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in Progress in Human Geography Publié en 2011-02
FAROLE Thomas
RODRIGUEZ-POSE Andres
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Human geography is in a unique position to understand how local structural factors shape social, political, and ultimately economic outcomes. Indeed, the discipline has had much to say about the interaction between local institutions and the economy in general, and about how the broader institutions of society influence local economic development. Yet, to date, geographers have for the most part avoided debates on more generalized theories of economic growth and development. With the increasing recognition — among sociologists, political scientists and even economists — that explaining economic growth robustly requires taking into account the role of both formal society-wide institutions and local and sometimes informal institutions, geographers are in a position to make an important contribution. In order to do so, however, they will need to take greater account of the theories and developments that are taking place outside the discipline. Using the framework of community and society as complementary structural forces shaping development trajectories, this paper presents a broad overview of the principal theoretical and empirical developments in the institutionalist approaches to economic development and identifies areas in which geographical research could contribute to them.

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Research on the institutional foundations of economic development emphasizes either rulebound systems of exchange or informal bonds between individuals and within small groups. This corresponds to a classical division in social science, between the forces of society and those of community. This cleavage largely ignores their interactions, which are likely to shape the institutions that underpin economic development in decisive ways. This paper operationalises and tests how the interaction of the forces of community (or social capital) and society (or rules) impact three types of institutions: those involved in problem solving, those that shape microeconomic efficiency and those that influence social policy, across fiftyeight countries. We find that both community and society are important determinants across all institutional domains, and are in many cases mutually reinforcing, but that different specific aspects of community and society are most relevant to different institutional domains. Instrumental associationalism, whether formal or informal, and a robust rules environment are the most important determinants of positive institutional outcomes.

in Scienze regionali Publié en 2011
RODRIGUEZ-POSE Andres
FAROLE Thomas
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Research on the institutional foundations of economic development is sharply divided between those who emphasize rule-bound systems of exchange (‘society’), and those who stress the importance of informal or voluntary bonds between individuals or small groups (‘community’). This paper reports an exploratory effort to operationalize the concepts of community and society and test how they impact different types of institutions, across fifty-eight countries. The results are encouraging and suggest several avenues for more refined research. We find that both community and society are important determinants across all institutional domains, and are in many cases mutually reinforcing.

in International Journal of Urban and Regional Research Publié en 2015-01
SCOTT Allen J.
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There has been a growing debate in recent decades about the range and substance of urban theory. The debate has been marked by many different claims about the nature of cities, including declarations that the urban is an incoherent concept, that urban society is nothing less than modern society as a whole, that the urban scale can no longer be separated from the global scale, and that urban theory hitherto has been deeply vitiated by its almost exclusive concentration on the cities of the global North. This article offers some points of clarification of claims like these. All cities can be understood in terms of a theoretical framework that combines two main processes, namely, the dynamics of agglomeration/polarization, and the unfolding of an associated nexus of locations, land uses and human interactions. This same framework can be used to identify many different varieties of cities, and to distinguish intrinsically urban phenomena from the rest of social reality. The discussion thus identifies the common dimensions of all cities without, on the one hand, exaggerating the scope of urban theory, or on the other hand, asserting that every individual city is an irreducible special case.

The United States and European Union differ significantly in terms of their innovative capacity: the former have been able to gain and maintain world leadership in innovation and technology while the latter continues to lag. Notwithstanding the magnitude of this innovation gap and the political emphasis placed upon it on both sides of the Atlantic, very little systematic comparative analysis has been carried out on its causes. The empirical literature has emphasised the structural differences between the two continents in the quantity and quality of the major 'inputs' to innovation: R&D investments and human capital. The very different spatial organisation of innovative activities in the EU and the US – as suggested by a variety of contributions in the field of economic geography – could also influence innovative output. This paper analyses and compares a wide set of territorial processes that influence innovation in Europe and the United States. The higher mobility of capital, population, and knowledge in the US not only promotes the agglomeration of research activity in specific areas of the country but also enables a variety of territorial mechanisms to fully exploit local innovative activities and (informational) synergies. In the European Union, in contrast, imperfect market integration, and institutional and cultural barriers across the continent prevent innovative agents from maximising the benefits from external economies and localised interactions, but compensatory forms of geographical process may be emerging in concert with further European integration.

Who are all those people filling the airplanes back and forth between Bangalore, Taipei, Shanghai, Tel Aviv and San José? According to AnnaLee Saxenian, they are a ‘new type of entrepreneur’, one who comes from one country, learns the complexities of the Silicon Valley system, builds up relationships with both fellow countrypersons and expatriate entrepreneurs from other countries, takes the knowledge back home, becomes a critical link in boosting the technology development capacities of the home region through transfer of knowledge and relationships, and sometimes continues living both in Silicon Valley and at home. These Argonauts become strategic agents in the contemporary spread of dynamic high technology clusters around the globe. Saxenian tells their stories in this remarkable new book (...).

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The field of spatial economics has made enormous progress in theorizing and measuring agglomeration effects, trade costs, and urbanization. Typical models establish structural determinants by making strong assumptions about which forces are relevant and how these forces interact. But many of these assumptions, about firms, agents, spatial costs, and market structures, are questionable. As a result, the field has a long way to go to establish causality, and to be able to account for spatial economic dynamics.

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How should we think of the role of regions in relation to the global economy? Theory has surprising gaps when it comes to building a unified vision of these two scales of development. Two contributions to such a vision are proposed in this article. First, the relationship between geographic concentration and the regional economic specialization it underpins and globalization should be theorized as a dynamic process. Standard location and trade theory is not adequate for this task; instead, the dynamic relationship can be captured through growth theory. But capturing this dynamic relationship requires correcting growth theory to separate its local and its global components, which are, respectively, Marshall- Arrow and Romer externalities. Second, the missing element in all theories of geographic concentration and locally specialized development is an element labeled “context” here. A theory of context, in turn, raises important new questions about the dynamic welfare and developmental effects of contemporary processes of fragmenting and relocating production at a global scale.

Three principal theories of urban success are prominent among policy-makers today. The first holds that “global cities” are more successful than other cities, though they also have many problems that come from being globally-connected. A second theory asserts that having a higher “quality of life” is somehow a factor in urban economic success. And a third notion is that cities with more “creativity” perform better than cities that are less creative. Each of these notions has very serious problems when it comes to specifying their definitions and the indicators appropriate to them. More importantly, it is not clear that any of them explains regional economic growth and change. In this paper, we show that none of them has much success in explaining per capita income or overall growth rates of cities. The first two are almost entirely irrelevant, while the third, though corresponding better to per capita income, appears upon closer examination to offer little explanatory insight. Policy-makers should therefore beware of attempting to apply any of these theories. That they are so prevalent suggests in addition that scholarly research on comparative urban growth and development needs a major overhaul.

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