A Relationship in Crisis
Edited by Luigi Burroni, Maarten Keune and Guglielmo Meardi
Chapter 10: The Boundaries between Economy and Society in European Cities
10. The boundaries between economy and society in European cities1 Luigi Burroni ECONOMY, SOCIETY AND GOVERNANCE AT LOCAL LEVEL During recent years a growing strand of research has focused on the socalled globalization paradox: the global competitiveness of firms and economic systems is increasingly rooted in the local institutional endowment and it depends on how effective local actors are in boosting external economies and creating stable locational advantages. This means that globalization increases the territorial mobility of companies but at the same time it renders them more dependent on their external context: the institutional context plays a key role in reinforcing the competitive advantage of a place thanks to contextual resources that have been recently defined as ‘local collective competition goods’ (Crouch et al. 2001, 2004). They include tangible elements such as infrastructure, logistics, services, the availability of qualified employees, the presence of research and development centres, the provision of information on new markets, the availability of specific transport infrastructures, but also intangible components such as cooperation relationships, that is, social networks, trust, skills and tacit knowledge. This paradox has been emphasized also by the recent financial crisis that since 2007 has interested all EU countries: a large number of cities are facing important processes of economic restructuring, and the outcomes of these processes seem to be strongly influenced by the quality of collective resources available in each city. The analysis of local governance modes, based on the study of the role played by organizations, institutions and actors in the...
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