Despite many years of deindustrialisation, manufacturing continues to play a key role in advanced economies. While often declining in relative and sometimes absolute terms, it still constitutes a significant share of employment, output and exports in many local, regional and urban economies in the global North. Manufacturing activities continue to generate positive effects in terms of income generation and sustaining supply sectors elsewhere in manufacturing and in services. The sector also provides relatively well-paid, stable and higher-quality jobs especially for people who did not go through higher education. As a result, manufacturing is a key focal point for industrial and spatial policy at various scales across many countries and integral to attempts to generate more spatially balanced and inclusive forms of growth.
Manufacturing in advanced industrialised economies has been subject to a number of profound changes in recent years. These include: the ‘unbundling’ and ‘rebundling’ of activities; waves of offshoring and reshoring; the application of sophisticated forms of automation and organisation in conjunction with ongoing developments in digitalisation, artificial intelligence and robotics; and the emergence of a ‘maker economy’ based upon new forms of decentralised, distributed and customised production. Little is known about the ways in which such transformations are reshaping the geographies of manufacturing. Moreover, such transformations have raised profound questions over whether manufacturing can continue to act as a driver of productivity growth, wealth and innovation in regional economies.
The aims of this session are, first, to examine and bring into dialogue international research on these dynamics and changing geographies in manufacturing across industrialised economies and, second, to explore the kinds of industrial and spatial policies that could help to enhance the role of manufacturing in achieving more spatially balanced and inclusive forms of growth. To these ends, we invite paper submissions which engage with these issues. Questions to be addressed, could include (but are not limited to):
* What are the key dynamics affecting manufacturing in mature capitalist economies in the contemporary period?
* What are the geographical variations in key performance indicators in manufacturing across regions and countries (in terms of employment, output, productivity, innovation, etc.) and how can we conceptualise and explain their causes? What are the most significant outcomes of automation, digitisation, and the restructuring of international trade regulatory frameworks?
* To what extent and in what ways are such dynamics and performance differences driven by geographical contexts and relationships, such as related variety in regional economies, clustering, localised ecosystems, forms of strategic coupling, etc.?
* What is the potential of manufacturing to contribute to more balanced and inclusive forms of growth in advanced economies? In particular, do the dynamics and changing geographies of manufacturing offer prospects for the revitalisation of struggling traditional industrial regions and peripheral areas?
* How do industrial and/or spatial policies at different scales vary across countries and regions in this respect? And what could be suitable policy measures to support manufacturing (especially in the context of trying to achieve more balanced and inclusive forms of growth)?
|Introduction||Emil Evenhuis Geography and Environmental Science||20||3:05 PM|
|Presenter||Kevin Baker*, Miami University, The Rusted Steel that Binds: How craft producers in Pittsburgh form neolocal economies||20||3:25 PM|
|Presenter||H Richard Nakamura*, Centre for International Business Studies, University of Gothenburg, Robert Wentrup, Centre for International Business Studies, University of Gothenburg, Ramsin Yakob, Centre for International Business Studies, University of Gothenburg, Blockchain technologies in international trade geographies||20||3:45 PM|
|Presenter||Jennifer Johns*, University of Bristol, Additive Manufacturing (3D printing) in the UK and Germany: spatial dynamics and policy initiatives||20||4:05 PM|
|Presenter||Jacopo Canello*, University of Groningen, Nicoletta Giudice, No affiliation, Production relocation and suppliers resilience in the Italian manufacturing industry: does upgrading help to survive structural shocks?||20||4:25 PM|
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