This dissertation explores the complexities of regional economic restructuring. It casts a light on how regional environments are ‘reconfigured’ in relation to the transformation of existing regional industries and the development of new ones. More specifically, the aim is to advance our understanding of regional innovation system (RIS) reconfiguration in relation to new regional industrial path development.
The theoretical discussion is anchored in a broad perspective of new regional industrial path development that has emerged at the intersection of different strands of literature in economic geography. The dissertation contributes to the academic debate by 1) developing a novel conceptual framework for analysing RISs from a ‘functional’ perspective, focusing on how system functions facilitate the provision of assets to regional actors; 2) investigating RIS dynamics, by disentangling the modes and types of RIS reconfiguration and factors determining RIS reconfiguration capacity; 3) exploring the interplay between historically developed context conditions and the role played by reflexive agents, zooming in on the evolving characteristics of RIS reconfiguration unfolding in different regional contexts.
Empirically, the dissertation investigates processes of RIS reconfiguration and/or new industrial path development in four Swedish regions (Scania, West Sweden, and the city-regions of Linköping and Karlskrona) and one cross-border region (the Öresund region, encompassing the Swedish region of Scania and the Danish region of Zealand). Different types and stages of new path development in different industries are under scrutiny: the emergence of a digital games industry in Scania, the emergence and long-term development of IT industries in Karlskrona and Linköping, and substantial changes to the automotive industry in West Sweden based on the development of self-driving cars.
The findings illustrate the complexity of structure-agency dynamics involved in new industrial path development. They point at the ways through which actors not only change, but also re-interpret and re-purpose existing structures, in order to alter the functioning of the RIS. The empirical analysis also highlight that securing the provision of assets relevant for new industrial paths include developing RIS structures in order to form assets within the region, and ways through which actors change the functioning of the RIS by developing structures for accessing or transplanting system functions from other regions. Furthermore, the findings situate RIS reconfiguration as a core component of new industrial path development and extend existing perspectives by 1) shedding light on changes in different dimensions of the RIS and 2) highlighting the role of RIS reconfiguration in the later stages the path development process, thus not only limited to ‘set the scene’ for industrial change processes.
Finally, the dissertation offers valuable insights in relation to the design and implementation of innovation policy, such as smart specialisation. It suggests that the identification of regional priorities could benefit from taking a functional perspective and shows that the ‘opening up’ of existing RIS structures for asset provision can be a fruitful strategy across different regional contexts. By paying more attention to system functions, the reflexivity of actors and structure-agency dynamics, the dissertation provides policymakers with insights that are useful when designing transformational roadmaps and smart specialisation strategies.
- Niedomysl, Thomas, Supervisor
- Trippl, Michaela, Supervisor
|Award date||2019 Dec 17|
|Place of Publication||Lund|
|Publication status||Published - 2019 Dec 17|
Place: Världen, Geocentrum I, Sölvegatan 10, Lund
Name: Jakobsen, Stig-Erik
Affiliation: Mohn Centre for Innovation and Regional Development Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Bergen, Norway
- economic geography
- new path development
- industrial change
- regional innovation system
- innovation policy
- structural change
- digital games
- West Sweden