Towards a stage model of regional industrial path transformation

Authors: Michaela Trippl*, University of Vienna, Simon Baumgartinger-Seiringer, Department of Geography and Regional Research, University of Vienna, Johan Miorner, KEG, Lund University
Topics: Economic Geography
Keywords: path transformation, evolutionary economic geography, stage model, agency
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Marriott Ballroom Salon 1, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Current debates in Evolutionary Economic Geography on regional restructuring reflect a dichotomy between on-going continuation and radical change of industrial path development. One can observe a recent shift of interest towards the latter, which is often portrayed to result into the creation of new paths. In this paper we argue that radical innovation activities can occur within existing paths without necessarily leading to their dissolution. We provide a comprehensive perspective on major intra-path alterations, which combines mechanisms of continuation and change alike. To capture such processes, we suggest a model that identifies and distinguishes between three transformation stages, allowing us to make more in-depth statements about how radical change becomes initiated, reinforced and finally consolidated in established industrial paths. We advance the idea that it is four dimensions that deserve closer scrutiny and which can be assumed to vary significantly throughout the process of path transformation: (1) the nature, origin and number of actors targeting transformation-related activities; (2) the assets needed for triggering transformations, the mechanisms used to provide the required assets, the supportive system fueling such actions and the (de-) institutionalization of assets; (3) the challenges which endanger the momentum of the process; and (4) the role visions are playing in guiding firm level and system level agency. To illustrate our arguments, we draw on findings from empirical studies of the automotive industries in West Sweden and Austria, which are currently transforming towards the development of self-driving cars.

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