Table of Contents

Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Economic Geography

Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Economic Geography

Handbooks of Research Methods and Applications series

Edited by Charlie Karlsson, Martin Andersson and Therese Norman

The main purpose of this Handbook is to provide overviews and assessments of the state-of-the-art regarding research methods, approaches and applications central to economic geography. The chapters are written by distinguished researchers from a variety of scholarly traditions and with a background in different academic disciplines including economics, economic, human and cultural geography, and economic history. The resulting handbook covers a broad spectrum of methodologies and approaches applicable in analyses pertaining to the geography of economic activities and economic outcomes.

Chapter 14: Geographic clustering in evolutionary economic geography

Koen Frenken and Ron Boschma

Subjects: economics and finance, regional economics, geography, economic geography, research methods in geography, research methods, research methods in economics, research methods in geography, urban and regional studies, regional economics, research methods in urban and regional studies


Evolutionary economic geography (EEG) explains the spatial evolution of firms, industries, networks, cities and regions from elementary processes of the entry, growth, decline and exit of firms, and their locational behaviour. In an evolutionary approach to economic geography, one typically reasons from the historical processes that have led to particular spatial patterns such as uneven levels of economic development or clustering of economic activity. The current distribution of economic activity across space is thus understood as an outcome of largely contingent, yet path-dependent, historical processes. Many of the explanations in EEG are based on firm-level theorizing. That is, rather than taking the region, or any other spatial unit, as the unit of analysis, the firm is considered the locus of development and change (Maskell, 2001). Economic evolution can then be understood as stemming from innovation leading to new organizational routines and their selective transmission across organizational entities, particularly firms (Nelson and Winter, 1982).

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