The economic crisis of 2008_09 had an unprecedented impact on the Greek economy leading to profound transformation both at the political and economic level. This chapter explores the impact on the region of West Macedonia which, among the Greek regions, was one of the most severely affected by the recent crisis. The chapter demonstrated that the region lacked resilience owing to its inherited structural frailties and its over-dependence on a narrow set of industries and public sector employment and pay. Whilst the European Structural Funds provided some security in terms of funding as well as some much-needed adaptability in policy tools and instruments, the highly centralised nature of government and planning structures made for limited flexibility and responsiveness at the regional scale.
Christina Kakderi and Anastasia Tasopoulou
This chapter develops an approach for operationalising the concept of regional economic resilience in a cross-comparative analysis of the effects of the 2008_09 economic crisis on European regions. The approach focuses on measuring resilience in terms of post-shock outcomes and adapts available methods for dating regional business cycles to capture differences in both the timing of when the shock hit regions, and the amplitude and duration of the downturns experienced and subsequent recoveries. This analysis highlights that the economic crisis of 2008_09 was not a single event but rather a series of closely connected events that together amounted to a major economic shock. Different places were affected by these events at different times. The business cycle approach adopted for this work is a major innovation in approaches to measuring the resilience of economies to economic shocks, as it allows a more nuanced measurement of the particular response of each region.
Gillian Bristow and Adrian Healy
This introductory chapter provides an overview of the economic crisis that hit European regions from 2007 and which took hold in 2008_09. It introduces the concept of regional economic resilience and outlines the key approach to measuring and assessing regional economic resilience which was developed for this research. This chapter concludes by providing an outline of the organisation and structure of the book, and a summary of its key themes.
Rüdiger Wink, Laura Kirchner, Florian Koch and Daniel Speda
This chapter describes the experiences in the region of Stuttgart during and after the global financial and economic crisis of 2008_09. The region was severely negatively hit by the crisis but achieved a fast recovery, notably by increasing exports to China. While the region faced huge problems to recover after a recession in the early 1990s, by 2014 Stuttgart had reached a new peak of employment. The reasons for this successful recovery are mainly rooted in the competitiveness and innovation capabilities of manufacturing industries and in the region’s institutional thickness. Despite the economic success, however, risks remain when considering the growing dependence of the regional economy on the automotive industry and export demand.
This chapter explores the effects of the 2008_09 crisis on South West Ireland. The analysis shows that the region was hit hard but fared relatively better than many other parts of Ireland. The analysis shows that underpinning the relative resilience of South West Ireland is the city of Cork. Here locational advantages, combined with the value of a vibrant urban centre, export-oriented firms and a strong base of universities and research institutes linked to the local economy, served to provide a strong foundation for economic resilience relative to the Irish economy as a whole. The region has also benefited from national policies seeking to promote the economic growth of the Irish economy.
This chapter explores the impact of the 2008_09 economic crisis on the Uusimaa region of Finland. It finds that whilst the region’s economy fared slightly better than Finland as a whole, the economic effects were significant, and it has undoubtedly struggled to recover. The crisis exposed the region’s high dependence upon Nokia which was advantageous when the company was leading the mobile phone market but a hindrance when its competitiveness declined. The higher proportion of public sector employment in Uusimaa provided some ballast in the face of this decline but not enough to prevent considerable output and employment decline. Whilst the strong welfare support system and long-term collective wage agreements have helped soften the impact of the crisis on incomes and wages by helping maintain domestic demand, they carry the risk of limiting the adaptability of businesses and workers in relation to structural change.
A European Study
Edited by Gillian Bristow and Adrian Healy
Iwona Sagan and Grzegorz Masik
This chapter provides a case study of the Pomorskie region of Poland which exhibited strong resilience to the 2008_09 crisis. The chapter explores the reasons for the region’s economic resilience. The analysis highlights the importance of the relative resilience of the Polish economy as a whole, as well as the diversified economic structure of the Pomorskie region. The analysis also highlights the adaptability associated with the region’s flexible labour force and open society and economy.
Uku Varblane and Urmas Varblane
This chapter explores the effect of the 2008_09 crisis on the region of North Estonia. The region was hit very hard owing to its high openness and dependence upon foreign trade. However, a swift and decisive national policy response helped foster very rapid recovery, with a radical reduction of public expenditures and accelerated utilisation of EU funds particularly important factors.
Gillian Bristow and Adrian Healy
The purpose of this concluding chapter is to draw together the key themes from the rich comparative analysis reported in this book, and to consider the wider implications for policy efforts to develop regional economic resilience. It highlights that a number of factors are positively associated with more resilient regions. These include more diverse, export-oriented economies with the presence of international companies. The experience of the crisis highlights the resilience risks of dependency on particular firms, sectors, markets and public-sector transfers. It also emphasises the dangers of making simplistic assumptions about the importance of particular factors to resilience outcomes. The different experiences of the crisis from the different European regions reported in this volume clearly highlight the important mediating role that is played by place-based characteristics.