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 23: The Information Economy and its Spatial Evolution in English Cities

James Simmie


James Simmie 1. Introduction This chapter discusses and analyses some of the results of the major paradigm shift to post-industrial capitalism and the service-based knowledge and information economy in English cities. In order to conduct this analysis a case is made for the adoption of an evolutionary economics approach as compared with that of neoclassical economics. This rests on the arguments that a central concern of evolutionary economics is the role of knowledge and information in modern economies and the significance of sources in addition to those provided by markets. It highlights the significance of the uses of knowledge in innovation and consequential movement of firms and industries away from rather than towards some pre-defined equilibrium. It also accepts the reality of bounded rationality. Technological paradigms and trajectories are among the important paths of change analysed in evolutionary theory. It is argued here that every 50 years or so key innovations lead to major paradigm shifts (Hall and Preston, 1988; Marshall, 1987). During the intervening periods firms and industries proceed along the technological trajectories that are established within the context of those paradigms. The latest of these, dating from around the 1960s, is the major change associated with the development of the knowledge- and information-based economy, the growing importance of services and the relative decline of manufacturing. Despite these major structural changes in modern economies, most of the previous evolutionary analyses of long-term change have tended to focus on manufacturing industries. In contrast the analysis presented here is devoted to...

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