Regional Growth and Entrepreneurial Diversity in Sweden
Edited by Charlie Karlsson, Charlotte Silander and Daniel Silander
Chapter 5: Political entrepreneurship, infrastructure and regional development
AbstractThis chapter deals with entrepreneurial factors that support the long-term development of a region. The analysis focuses on decisions on investment in durable public resources that constitute the regional and economic infrastructure. Politicians and planners mostly use the term infrastructure to refer to physical networks links such as roads, railways and utility networks. Here, we use it in the broader sense of all durable and shared systems that support the regional economy. The infrastructure thus includes material public capital such as roads, but also non-material public capital, including regional accessibility to knowledge and markets and a region’s formal and informal institutions. The first section includes a discussion on the infrastructural conditions and their geographical extension for economic development and what constitutes the material and non-material dimensions of infrastructure that favour economic development. It is followed by a historical approach to the role of infrastructure in the Swedish Industrial Revolution and the transformation into a creative knowledge society. This section identifies how the Swedish infrastructure planning and policies of the 1970s and afterwards have changed from national towards regional perspectives and also how the private sector has come to play an active role in pushing for new initiatives on infrastructure development. Two illustrative examples of material public capital are analysed.
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