Chapter 10: Localized Learning and Social Capital
Mark Lorenzen 1. INTRODUCTION This chapter discusses the importance of social capital (e.g. Bourdieu, 1986; Coleman, 1988; Burt, 1992; Putnam, 1993; Fukuyama, 1995; Woolcock, 1998; Baron et al., 2001; Lin, 2001; Lin et al., 2001; Field, 2003) for localized learning (i.e. processes of technological and institutional development taking place within conﬁned regional spaces, such as clusters, as described by, for example, Malmberg and Maskell, 1999, Lorenzen, 2001 and Maskell, 2001). Increasingly, scholars argue that persistent economic development diﬀerences among regions may be understood by focusing on social capital. In a resource-based view of regional economic development (see e.g. Foss, 1996; Maskell et al., 1998; Lorenzen, 2002), unique resource endowments of regions cause persistent diﬀerences in company performances, exports and economic growth. Obviously, regions’ diﬀerent locations, natural resource endowments, access to public or private venture capital, public educational programmes or knowledge transfers from universities often hugely inﬂuence their growth potential. However, taking all these resources into account is not suﬃcient to explain, for example, the persistent growth diﬀerences between Italian regions or Indian states, the emergence of successful clusters in hitherto predominantly rural areas around the world, or the success of some regions in restructuring their old industrial areas under the same conditions where others fail miserably.1 Hence, some scholars argue that social capital is the ‘residue’ that may explain these regional performance diﬀerences, after we have taken other resource endowments into account.2 In particular, social capital may facilitate learning at the regional...
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