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Forms of emergence and the evolution of economic landscapes

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  • Martin, Ron
  • Sunley, Peter
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    Abstract

    Over the past two decades, the notion of ‘emergence’ has attracted increasing attention and controversy across the social science, including economics. Within this context, as economic geographers, our concern in this paper is with the usefulness of the idea of emergence for studying the economic landscape and its evolution. The paper considers in what sense geographical processes and places can legitimately be described as emergent, how such places themselves produce emergent effects, and how we should conceive of and study the ‘emergent’ space economy. To do this, we apply Deacon's (2006) models of first-order, second-order and third-order emergence, and trace through their implications for constructing an ‘emergence perspective’ in economic geography. The notion of third-order emergence is argued to be the most promising, since it focuses explicitly on emergence as an evolutionary process. What is evident, however, is that a notion developed mainly for applications in physical and biological systems requires further elaboration and exploration if it is to provide explanatory leverage in studying the evolution of economic landscapes.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

    Volume (Year): 82 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 2 ()
    Pages: 338-351

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:82:y:2012:i:2:p:338-351

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo

    Related research

    Keywords: Emergence; Economic landscape; Clusters; Evolution; Path dependence;

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    References

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    1. Ron Martin, 2010. "Roepke Lecture in Economic Geography-Rethinking Regional Path Dependence: Beyond Lock-in to Evolution," Economic Geography, Clark University, vol. 86(1), pages 1-27, 01.
    2. Maskell, Peter & Malmberg, Anders, 1999. "Localised Learning and Industrial Competitiveness," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(2), pages 167-85, March.
    3. Ron Martin & Peter Sunley, 2002. "Deconstructing Clusters: Chaotic Concept or Policy Panacea," ESRC Centre for Business Research - Working Papers wp244, ESRC Centre for Business Research.
    4. Ron Boschma & Ron Martin, 2007. "Editorial: Constructing an evolutionary economic geography," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(5), pages 537-548, September.
    5. Harry Garretsen & Ron Martin, 2010. "Rethinking (New) Economic Geography Models: Taking Geography and History More Seriously," Spatial Economic Analysis, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(2), pages 127-160.
    6. Harper, David A. & Endres, Anthony M., 2012. "The anatomy of emergence, with a focus upon capital formation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 352-367.
    7. Ron Martin & Peter Sunley, 2006. "Path Dependence and Regional Economic Evolution," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 0606, Utrecht University, Section of Economic Geography, revised Mar 2006.
    8. Jürgen Essletzbichler & David L. Rigby, 2007. "Exploring Evolutionary Economic Geographies," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 0702, Utrecht University, Section of Economic Geography, revised Apr 2007.
    9. Sugden, Robert, 1989. "Spontaneous Order," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 85-97, Fall.
    10. Ron Boschma & Simona Iammarino, 2009. "Related Variety, Trade Linkages, and Regional Growth in Italy," Economic Geography, Clark University, vol. 85(3), pages 289-311, 07.
    11. Jürgen Essletzbichler & David L. Rigby, 2007. "Exploring evolutionary economic geographies," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(5), pages 549-571, September.
    12. Anders Malmberg & Peter Maskell, 2005. "Localized Learning Revisited," DRUID Working Papers 05-19, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
    13. Ron Martin & Peter Sunley, 2007. "Complexity thinking and evolutionary economic geography," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(5), pages 573-601, September.
    14. Kurt Dopfer & Jason Potts, 2004. "Evolutionary realism: a new ontology for economics," Journal of Economic Methodology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(2), pages 195-212.
    15. David, Paul A, 1985. "Clio and the Economics of QWERTY," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(2), pages 332-37, May.
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