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A Handbook of Industrial Districts

A Handbook of Industrial Districts

Elgar original reference

Edited by Giacomo Becattini, Marco Bellandi and Lisa De Propis

In this comprehensive original reference work, the editors have brought together an unrivalled group of distinguished scholars and practitioners to comment on the historical and contemporary role of industrial districts (IDs).

Chapter 38: Industrial Districts in Scandinavia

Bengt Johannisson

Subjects: economics and finance, industrial economics, regional economics, urban and regional studies, regional economics


Bengt Johannisson* 1. Scandinavia: A historical and sociocultural briefing The Scandinavian countries, here including Sweden, Denmark and Norway, form the heartland of the Nordic countries – covering also Finland, Iceland, the Faroes and Greenland – and usually are presented as very homogenous, nationally as well as when compared with one another. A possible reason for this proposed homogeneity is that these countries, besides their geographical proximity, have colonised each other. Finland was part of Sweden until the beginning of the 19th century. After having lost Finland in a peace treaty with Russia in 1809, Sweden entered an alliance with Norway that lasted for about a hundred years. Before that Denmark had ruled in Norway, and in the Middle Ages also Sweden. Only in the 20th century did Iceland, the Faroes and Greenland become independent from Denmark, making its territory by far the smallest of the three Scandinavian countries. With its 44000 km2 it is smaller than one-tenth of the area of Sweden and slightly more than that portion of Norway. The differences in territorial size to a great extent explains why Norway and Sweden have more natural resources than Denmark and why the latter has an economy and embedding culture dominated by trading while the Norwegian and Swedish economies are technology- and production-oriented. Not surprisingly Hofstede (1980), in his seminal international comparative study on work-related values, reports very similar findings from Sweden, Denmark and Norway on all the dimensions identified. As a matter of fact his research puts the Scandinavian culture quite...

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