Handbook of Regional Innovation and Growth
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Handbook of Regional Innovation and Growth

Edited by Philip Cooke, Bjørn Asheim, Ron Boschma, Ron Martin, Dafna Schwartz and Franz Tödtling

Today, economic growth is widely understood to be conditioned by productivity increases which are, in turn, profoundly affected by innovation. This volume explores these key relationships between innovation and growth, bringing together experts from both fields to compile a unique Handbook.
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Chapter 2: Schumpeter and Regional Innovation

Esben Sloth Andersen and David Wolfe


Esben Sloth Andersen PROPOSING LOCATIONAL STUDIES The regional patterns of the complex division of labour between firms can be studied from two quite different perspectives. First, one can concentrate on an analysis of the equilibrated functioning of a system with a given division of labour. Second, one can study how this complex system came into being. Here one has to emphasize the sequence of innovative activities and adaptive responses. However, this process often disturbs the static patterns in a radical way – as emphasized by Schumpeter’s concept of the process of creative destruction. The two perspectives suggest a split between economists studying, on the one hand, the maintenance and incremental change of static structures and, on the other hand, the entrepreneurial creation of new structures (and destruction of old ones). But the sole concentration of one or the other research speciality might be harmful to the understanding of the real process of localized evolution. In the 1950s and 1960s, this difficulty was apparently overcome through the work of a group of post-Schumpeterian researchers. These pioneering economists tried to develop a concept of a sequence of evolutionary steps in which radical innovations are followed by manifold incremental innovations and non-innovative adaptations. Such sequences of innovations were underlying Erik Dahmén’s (1991) idea of development blocks, Albert O. Hirschman’s (1958) idea of an inducement of entrepreneurship and investment decisions through the backward and forward linkages from a particular innovative step, and the growth pole or development pole theories of François Perroux (1988;...

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