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Creating Resilient Economies

Entrepreneurship, Growth and Development in Uncertain Times

Edited by Nick Williams and Tim Vorley

Providing a coherent and clear narrative, Creating Resilient Economies offers a theoretical analysis of resilience and provides guidance to policymakers with regards to fostering more resilient economies and people. It adeptly illustrates how resilience thinking can offer the opportunity to re-frame economic development policy and practice and provides a clear evidence base of the cultural, economic, political and social conditions that shape the adaptability, flexibility and responsiveness to crises in their many forms.
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Robert Huggins and Piers Thompson

There is a growing recognition that culture, both that specifically related to entrepreneurship and more generally that underpinning social and community activities, plays a role in facilitating economic development. Little attention, however, has been paid to the extent to which entrepreneurial activities are themselves resilient in the face of economic downturns: in particular, the extent to which entrepreneurial activities, attitudes and culture are supported by community culture at the local level. This study, therefore, seeks to address this issue. Data from localities in Great Britain are used to develop a number of indices based on those elements identified within the existing literature concerning community culture. Overall, it is found that entrepreneurship is only one element of the resources required to develop economic resilience, and may even lessen this resilience if ‘over-indulged’ in isolation. The findings further suggest that there is a link between some aspects of community culture and both economic and entrepreneurial resilience, in particular, a negative influence from social cohesion and adherence to social rules Positively for those localities with less market-driven individualistic perspectives, collective action supports entrepreneurial resilience, which means that such localities should not be handicapped in recovering from negative shocks.

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James Simmie

It is argued that urban economic resilience should be seen in terms of the capacity to maintain long-run economic growth pathways and the impacts of sudden and unforeseen shocks on those pathways. It is proposed that resilience is based on the long-run capacities of urban economies to re-invent themselves in the face of external shocks emanating from such phenomena as globalisation and technological change. This hypothesis is investigated by analysing employment change and the development of knowledge based private sector service industries and digital firms in English and Welsh cities from 1911. On the basis of this analysis, it is concluded that those cities with the highest levels of knowledge based employment in 1911 have emerged as the most resilient economies in terms of their long-term employment growth paths. Conversely, those urban economies with the highest levels of low knowledge intensity jobs in 1911 have tended to replicate those types of employment and consequently have suffered from low levels of resilience in the face of the local impacts of globalisation and technological shocks.

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Emil Evenhuis and Stuart Dawley

In this chapter we will discuss how the mechanisms and drivers of regional economic resilience can be theorised using evolutionary approaches in economic geography. We focus on evolutionary approaches that draw from three main theoretical frameworks: Generalised Darwinism, Complexity Theory, and Path Dependency. We will review each of the three frameworks with regard to their understanding of regional economic resilience, with particular attention to their treatment of the roles of agency, institutions and multi-scalar processes. We conclude that the Path Dependency approach – so far relatively neglected in debates on regional resilience – offers the greatest theoretical insight into these interrelated domains and provides the basis for a more comprehensive evolutionary resilience research agenda.

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Nick Williams and Tim Vorley

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Edited by Nick Williams and Tim Vorley

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Chay Brooks

This chapter explores how civic leadership can be considered an important element in economic resilience and the ways in which local stakeholders view their institutional environments and economic cultures. Civic leadership provides a lens to think about the role of governance in shaping the form and direction of regional resilience. The chapter specifically explores the importance of partnerships spanning across political, bureaucratic and business leaders and how these connections can help navigate regional economic policy and the strategic goals of social and economic development. The case of the Sheffield City Region, a once thriving manufacturing hub of northern England, is presented as an example of how the collaboration of stakeholders and the Local Enterprise Partnerships is crucial in enabling resilience in a changing economic and social landscape.

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Nick Williams and Tim Vorley

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Paolo Di Caro

This chapter analyses the resilience of local labour markets in Italy by providing evidence on the resistance and the recoverability of the Italian provinces over the years 2004–2015. The relationships between economic resilience and local development are studied to understand the competitiveness and growth patterns of particular areas in an evolutionary perspective. Three main results derive from the empirical analysis. Local economic resilience presents place-specific patterns, with the provinces located in the Centre-North of the country registering higher resilience than those located in the South. The Great Recession contributed to amplifying differences in local resilience, particularly with respect to female occupations. The quality of local institutions plays a relevant role for explaining the asymmetric distribution of resilience on a territorial level. The summary of the findings and policy implications are conclusively discussed.

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Cédric Brunelle and Ben Spigel

Resource-driven regional economies have experienced significant growth over the past decade due to increasing prices of raw materials such as oil and the need for customized and site-specific technologies to increase production and reduce risk. As a result, significant amounts of human and financial capital have built up in these regions. However, there are few examples of resource-dependent economies using these regional assets to successfully diversify away from their dependence on extractive industries, leading to profound declines as resource prices decline globally as they did in 2015. This paper examines the evolutionary lock-in and lock-out processes of resource economies and the potential of technology entrepreneurship to initiate path creation in these regions. Based on interviews with entrepreneurs, investors, and policymakers in St. John’s, Newfoundland, we explore the processes through which firms both inside and outside the resource industry are locked-in to existing economic trajectories and the ability of technology entrepreneurs to break out of these limitations and diversify into new industries and markets. We find that the relationships between the region’s culture, its investment environment, and global changes in the oil and gas industry combine to create and reproduce industrial lock-in within the region. If long-term regional diversification and path creation appears to be the exception rather than the rule for resource-driven economies, entrepreneurs stand out as the central drivers of change shaping the path-enabling potential generated through resource booms.