Handbook of Regions and Competitiveness
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Handbook of Regions and Competitiveness

Contemporary Theories and Perspectives on Economic Development

Edited by Robert Huggins and Piers Thompson

The aim of this Handbook is to take stock of regional competitiveness and complementary concepts as a means of presenting a state-of-the-art discussion of the contemporary theories, perspectives and empirical explanations that help make sense of the determinants of uneven development across regions. Drawing on an international field of leading scholars, the book is assembled and organized so that readers can first learn about the theoretical underpinnings of regional competitiveness and development theory, before moving on to deeper discussions of key factors and principal elements, the emergence of allied concepts, empirical applications, and the policy context.
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Chapter 4: Regional competitiveness and economic growth: the evolution of explanatory models

Richard Harris

Abstract

This chapter presents an overview of various models of regional growth that have appeared in the literature in the last 40 years. It considers the past, and therefore supply-side models such as the standard neoclassical, juxtaposed against essentially demand-side approaches such as the export-base and cumulative causation models (as integrated into the Kaldorian approach); before moving on to the present and more recent versions of the neoclassical model involving spatial weights and ‘convergence clubs’, as well as New Economic Geography core_periphery models, and the ‘innovation systems’ approach. A key feature of the more recent literature is an attempt to explicitly include spatial factors into the model, and thus there is a renewed emphasis on agglomeration economies and spillovers. The discussion of ‘present’ and ‘future’ approaches to regional growth overlaps with the current emphasis in the literature on the importance of more intangible factors such as the role of knowledge and its influence on growth. Lastly, there is a discussion of the greater emphasis that needs to be placed at the micro level when considering what drives growth, and thus factors such as inter alia firm heterogeneity, entrepreneurship and absorptive capacity. Recent micro-level evidence is also presented and related to the earlier discussion of the various models of regional growth.

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