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Katalin Erdős and Attila Varga

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William C. Strange

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Yasuyuki Motoyama

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Patrizio Bianchi, Sandrine Labory and Clemente Ruiz Durán

The beginning of the twenty-first century is turning out to be full of disruptions and challenges for economies and societies. Climate change, world population growth, migratory pressures, are pressing challenges; the financial crisis has had a dramatic effect and many economies have had difficulties in recovering their pre-crisis development level. Meanwhile, innovation and technological changes are accelerating, in various fields including genomics, nanotechnologies, information and communication technologies (ICTs) and big data, robotics and artificial intelligence, new materials, and others. ICTs, with the Internet of Things (IoT), the Cloud, big data, are allowing hyper-connection of people and objects and digitisation of production processes. The change induced is so disruptive that there is quite wide consensus that we are experiencing an industrial revolution, the fourth one. New means of production and new products are appearing and will continue doing so, changing individuals’ life in important aspects, namely economic, social and cultural.

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Roberta Capello and Peter Nijkamp

The space-economy has never been static, but has always shown a state of flux. Regions are normally in transition; they are work in progress. As a consequence, we observe a complex evolution of regional systems that varies between growth and decline. Static location and allocation theories may be helpful in understanding underlying structures in regional economies, but do not offer a full-scale picture of the development of multi-actor processes and of the perpetual or temporal impediments for regional growth and prosperity. The conceptualization and solid explanation of regional growth, and differences therein, is still largely a mystery for the research community in many countries. There is no uniform panacea for enhancing or accelerating the development trajectory of regions in a national or supranational economy. Therefore, regional policy is still in many cases a black box; the outcomes of intensified regional growth strategies are often largely unpredictable. Best guesses are more common than testable and operational estimates of policy impacts. Against the above-mentioned backgrounds, the editors of the Handbook of Regional Growth and Development Theories published a decade ago a comprehensive volume with a rich collection of advanced contributions on the above challenges in regional economics and regional science. In the ten years since then the world, both the empirical regional world and the theoretical and empirical reflection on growth and development issues, has not come to a standstill. We have become sadder and wiser after economic crises, regional fragmentation trends, the introduction of radical technological innovation, and the awareness of failures of regional policy. However, we have also enriched our knowledge horizon, with new insights and new methods and theories of regional analysis. The time has now come to take a refreshing and new look at the achievements of regional growth and development theories.

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Yasuyuki Motoyama

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Martin Jones

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Edited by John R. Bryson, Lauren Andres and Rachel Mulhall

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Patrizio Bianchi and Sandrine Labory

This introductory chapter to the book reviews global trends in markets, focusing on globalisation and digitalisation. It is argued that the global economy seems to have entered a new phase after the financial crisis, whereby flows of goods no longer exponentially rise while data flows boom. This new phase can therefore be called ‘digital globalisation’, spurred by the fourth industrial revolution, the meaning and implications this book aims at analysing, especially regarding industry and industrial policy.

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Lasse Gerrits and Stefan Verweij

We argue that infrastructure projects are complex and that evaluations of such projects need to do justice to that complexity. The three principal aspects discussed here are heterogeneity, uniqueness, and context. Evaluations that are serious about incorporating the complexity of projects need to address these aspects. Often, evaluations rely on single case studies. Such studies are useful because they allow researchers to focus on the heterogeneous, unique, and contextual nature of projects. However, their relevance for explaining other (future) projects is limited. Larger-n studies allow for the comparison of cases, but they come with the important downside that their relevance for explaining single projects is limited because they cannot incorporate heterogeneity, uniqueness, and context sufficiently. The method Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) presents a promising solution to this conundrum. This book offers a guide to using QCA when evaluating infrastructure projects.