In recent years and not least after the latest financial and economic crisis, we have seen a strongly renewed interest for industrial policy to get the developed economies growing again. Politicians and their experts and advisers have been hunting desperately for new approaches to industrial policy and have increasingly started to act as political entrepreneurs. The renewed interest in industrial policy and the increased importance of political entrepreneurs urge us once again to ask the fundamental question of what should be the proper focus, measures and extent of industrial policy. Should the industrial policy be vertical and focus on specific industries and even specific companies or should it be horizontal and focus on improving the general conditions for all industries and firms? However, there is a related and partly more controversial question, namely, what is the proper spatial scale for policy interventions by political entrepreneurs? Should industrial policy focus on certain places and possibly focus on existing and/or emerging industrial clusters or should it be spatially neutral and not try to discriminate between different regions and places? The purpose of this chapter is to throw some light on all above questions but with some extra focus on the questions concerning the spatial aspects.
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David E. Andersson and Ake E. Andersson
This chapter deals with entrepreneurial factors that support the long-term development of a region. The analysis focuses on decisions on investment in durable public resources that constitute the regional and economic infrastructure. Politicians and planners mostly use the term infrastructure to refer to physical networks links such as roads, railways and utility networks. Here, we use it in the broader sense of all durable and shared systems that support the regional economy. The infrastructure thus includes material public capital such as roads, but also non-material public capital, including regional accessibility to knowledge and markets and a region’s formal and informal institutions. The first section includes a discussion on the infrastructural conditions and their geographical extension for economic development and what constitutes the material and non-material dimensions of infrastructure that favour economic development. It is followed by a historical approach to the role of infrastructure in the Swedish Industrial Revolution and the transformation into a creative knowledge society. This section identifies how the Swedish infrastructure planning and policies of the 1970s and afterwards have changed from national towards regional perspectives and also how the private sector has come to play an active role in pushing for new initiatives on infrastructure development. Two illustrative examples of material public capital are analysed.