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"The People's Turn" and Agency, Actors, and Actions (3As) - A New Framework and Its Application in Research on Urban and Regional Economic Development

Authors: Yifei Sun*, California State University, Northridge, Hongyang Wang, Nanjing University, Xielin Liu, Chinese Academy of Sciences University, Peilei Fan, Michigan State University, Jianglong Chen, CAS Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology, Xudong Gao, Tsinghua University, Gang Zeng, East China Normal University, Jiang Wei, Zhejinag University
Topics: Economic Geography, China, Social Geography
Keywords: 3A, agency, actors, actions, place leadership, EEG, economic development, innovation
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

We develop a new framework consisting of agency, actors and actions (3As) and apply it to research on urban and regional economic development. The new framework is based on critical assessments of the structuralist perspectives and the evolutionary economic geography (EEG) and argues that we need to bring people back into discussion of economic development at local and national scales. Neither the structuralist nor the EEG perspectives could provide satisfactory answers to questions why some places without favorable institutions or resource endowments could become innovation centers why some innovation centers that are equipped with necessary institutions, talents, and capital could overlook the new opportunities associated with new technologies or market opportunities. We argue that after bringing the actors focused perspective, while considering both the constraining and enabling effects of institutional/cultural forces, the new "3A" framework could provide reasonable explanation for the various development trajectories of national/local economic development. We detail how one can apply such a framework in urban and regional economic development by focusing place leaderships Including political leaderships and business leaderships, as well as other leaderships) and its interactions. We articulate the specific relationships between place leadership configurations and different paths of local economic development such as path creation, path branching, path dependent, locked in, related varieties and unrelated varieties.

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