The Handbook of Evolutionary Economic Geography
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The Handbook of Evolutionary Economic Geography

Edited by Ron Boschma and Ron Martin

This wide-ranging Handbook is the first major compilation of the theoretical and empirical research that is forging the new and exciting paradigm of evolutionary economic geography.
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Chapter 1: The Aims and Scope of Evolutionary Economic Geography

Ron Boschma and Ron Martin


Ron Boschma and Ron Martin 1. Introduction Over the past two and half decades, key theoretical developments have been taking place in the field of economic geography (Martin, 2008; Martin and Sunley, 2007b). For their part, economic geographers have moved firmly away from traditional economic analysis, and sought insights from various forms of heterodox economics and from other social sciences outside the economics field (see Amin and Thrift, 2000; Bagchi-Sen and Lawton Smith, 2006; Bathelt and Glückler, 2003; McCann, 2007; Martin and Sunley, 2001; Martin and Sunley, 2007a; Sheppard and Barnes, 2000; Simmie, 2005). Their interest has been in the institutional, cultural and social foundations of regional and urban development: a so-called ‘institutional’ or ‘cultural turn’ has taken place. At the same time, since the early to mid-1990s, several economists, led by Paul Krugman, the Nobel Laureate, on the one hand, and by Michael Porter, the business economist, on the other, have discovered geography, and argued for the importance of a geographical perspective for understanding the dynamics and competitiveness of the economy: both have emphasised the process of spatial agglomeration of economic activity as a source of increasing returns. Krugman and his followers even labelled their formal mathematical approach as the ‘New Economic Geography’. However, what has been lacking from these theoretical developments is any real appreciation of the importance of history in the economic landscape: neither perspective really tells us much about how that landscape evolves over time. Yet an evolutionary perspective is essential to a fuller understanding...

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