Growing Against Conventional Wisdom: Entrepreneurship and economic prosperity in Heilbronn-Franconia

Authors: Anna Mateja Punstein*, Heidelberg University, Johannes Gl├╝ckler, Heidelberg University, Christian Wuttke, Heidelberg University
Topics: Economic Geography
Keywords: regional development, regional analysis, Baden-Württemberg, institutions, tinkering, entrepreneurship
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Empire Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

This paper elaborates on an institutional theory of regional growth, where traditional models of industrial structure fail. It examines how a region with a marked legacy of manufacturing and technical engineering has experienced one of the highest growth rates in Southern Germany over decades. We demonstrate that neither the composition and clustering nor the relatedness of industries can account for the outstanding performance of Heilbronn-Franconia, a rural, manufacturing region located in Baden-W├╝rttemberg. Instead, we explore how the region benefits from a specific relational infrastructure and the institutions of doing and tinkering that have spurred entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial stamina and international niche market leadership ranging across industries, occupations and technologies. These institutions help explain how regional economies flourish in the absence of related or clustered industries.

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