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  • RODRIGUEZ-POSE Andres (8)
  • KEMENY Thomas (5)
  • FAROLE Thomas (4)
  • SCOTT Allen J. (3)
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  • Article (25)
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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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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.

Publication date 2013-06
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Why do some cities grow economically while others decline? Why do some show sustained economic performance while others cycle up and down? In Keys to the City, Michael Storper, one of the world's leading economic geographers, looks at why we should consider economic development issues within a regional context--at the level of the city-region--and why urban economies develop unequally. Storper identifies four contexts that shape urban economic development: economic, institutional, innovational, interactional, and political. The book explores how these contexts operate and how they interact, leading to developmental success in some regions and failure in others. Demonstrating that the global economy is increasingly driven by its major cities, the keys to the city are the keys to global development. In his conclusion, Storper specifies eight rules of economic development targeted at policymakers. Keys to the City explains why economists, sociologists, and political scientists should take geography seriously. (Publisher's abstract)

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Explaining the growth and change of regions and cities is one of the great challenges for social science. The field of economic geography and associated economics has developed frameworks in recent years that, while tackling major questions in spatial economic development, are deficient in their ability to explain geographical develop in a causal way, and to incorporate principal forces for change.

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