Making Sense of Structural Adjustment Processes in Industrial Sectors, Regions and Societies
Edited by Timo J. Hämäläinen and Risto Heiskala
Chapter 7: From Path Dependency to Path Creation? Baden-Württemberg and the Future of the German Model
7. From path dependency to path creation? Baden-Württemberg and the future of the German model* Gerd Schienstock INTRODUCTION In this article I describe the problems occurring when a region that has been economically quite successful for a long period of time is confronted with recession and aims at developing a new growth path to overcome its economic diﬃculties. At the beginning of the 1990s, the German Land Baden-Württemberg with its traditional industries (automobile, mechanical engineering and electronics industries) was confronted with such a situation. Together with the deepest economic crisis Baden-Württemberg had been confronted with since the Second World War, structural problems in its economy became increasingly visible. In the current state of development it is diﬃcult to judge whether the eﬀorts to turn to a new growth path have been successful; recent developments seem to indicate, however, that such an undertaking is more diﬃcult and takes more time than expected by the actors involved. Because of the great regional diﬀerences in the economic structure and related economic problems, I have selected a single Land as a research subject instead of Germany as a whole. I have chosen Baden-Württemberg because this Land more than any other represents the German production and innovation model which has been very successful in producing economic growth and social welfare during the postwar period up to the early 1990s. This model has been characterized as the ‘ﬂexible specialization model’ (Sabel, 1989) or the ‘diversiﬁed quality...
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