Handbook of Regional Growth and Development Theories
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Handbook of Regional Growth and Development Theories

Edited by Roberta Capello and Peter Nijkamp

Regional economics – an established discipline for several decades – has gone through a rapid pace of change in the past decade and several new perspectives have emerged. At the same time the methodology has shown surprising development. This volume brings together contributions looking at new pathways in regional economics, written by many well-known international scholars. The most advanced theories, measurement methods and policy issues in regional growth are given in-depth treatment.
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Chapter 25: Economic Decline and Public Intervention: Do Special Economic Zones Matter?

Peter Friedrich and Chang Woon Nam


Peter Friedrich and Chang Woon Nam 25.1 Critical assessment of development theories Decline as development The attempts to define development normally comprise three main features. The narrowest approach is the interpretation of development as a process of economic development like growth. Development is often associated with the achievement of economic goals. In this context it is argued that economic development is a process whereby an economy’s real national income increases over a long time (Meier and Baldwin, 1957). Furthermore the concept of development is expanded under the consideration of other types of goals like sustenance, self-esteem and freedom (Goulet, 1971; Sen, 1999; World Bank, 2000). A number of non-economic indicators are also adopted when describing the state of an economy, such as the Human Development Index and the Human Poverty Index (UNDP, 2001), to name a few. As a consequence most analyses on development have a strong interdisciplinary character, and the development theory cannot solely be an economic one (Szirmai, 2005). At least a broadening of the economic base in the sense of economic goal achievement seems necessary or welcome to enhance the results with respect to other goals. Looking from the perspective of how world welfare should improve, one can also derive some similar but specific statements for regional welfare. The theories aimed at investigating and examining development refer mostly to growth, while economic decline and those factors restricting economic development have not been examined exclusively. However, one can easily identify periods with economic and social decline...

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