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The role of demand in regional transformation - examples from the Swedish periphery

Authors: Roman Martin*, University of Gothenburg
Topics: Economic Geography
Keywords: regional transformation, peripheral regions, new path development, food industry, Sweden
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

This paper deals with the role that demand can play in regional industrial transformation, focusing on traditional industries in peripheral regions. Theory building departs from accounts on new path development, were peripheral regions are typically seen as providing unfavourable conditions for industrial transformation, due to a weak organisational and institutional endowment. However, as we argue in this paper, demand can be an important driver for industrial transformation, yet underscored in the literature so far. Demand includes aspects related to general consumption patterns, to co-development between users and producers, to public procurement, or to norms and values among consumers. The empirical analysis focusses on the food industry in Värmland, a rural region in Sweden, and is based on a company survey as well as in-depth interviews with firm representatives and industry stakeholders. In order to cope with environmental and globalisation pressures, the food industry faces the need to renew its production system, typically towards greener and/or local production. At the same time, new niches emerge, often triggered by novel or changing consumer trends. We highlight the multiple roles that demand has played in the transformation and renewal of this traditional industry in peripheral Sweden.

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