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Applied Evolutionary Economics and Complex Systems

Edited by John Foster and Werner Hölzl

This book takes up the challenge of developing an empirically based foundation for evolutionary economics built upon complex system theory. The authors argue that modern evolutionary economics is at a crossroads. At a theoretical level, modern evolutionary economics is moving away from the traditional focus of the operation of selection mechanisms and towards concepts of ‘complex adaptive systems’ and self-organisation. On an applied level, new and innovative methods of empirical research are being developed and considered. The contributors take up this challenge and examine aspects of complexity and evolution in applied contexts.
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Chapter 10: Changing Structure – Keeping Location: From Musical Instruments to Electronics in the Accordion District of Ancona

Deborah Tappi


Deborah Tappi* The central idea of economics, even when its foundation alone are under discussion, must be that of living force and movement (Marshall 1920) 1. INTRODUCTION This chapter aims to provide an empirical contribution to the question of how qualitative change occurs within specialized, local industrialized clusters (LICs). A descriptive model is used to explain the development of Italian LICs by testing certain assumptions in a case study on the musical instrument cluster of Ancona (Marches, Italy). In particular, the forces and processes that allowed this LIC to transform its production structure from very traditional artisanry to innovative and technology-intensive production is investigated. The descriptive model uses a framework in which exogenous changes and internal learning processes trigger a transformation in the production structure. The concepts of structural change, self-organization and learning will be employed in order to provide a conceptual framework to understand the evolutionary trajectories of the cluster over the last decades. The basic aim is to provide a framework for the understanding and explanation of the transformation of LICs. Of particular interest is the interaction between demand and the process of internal selection of new technologies and new products. Taken together, these lead to a change in the production structure of the LIC. The process of selection of new products to be integrated in the production process and of new markets to be explored depends on the technological path and on complementarities between new information and the accumulated available knowledge, skills and competencies in the LIC....

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