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The Challenges of Including Political Economy Research in Regional Economic History

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  • Martin Eriksson

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    Abstract

    Issues such as regional interest group mobilization and the projection of regional claims on the national political arenas often occur during critical junctures of regional economic development. In many cases they have such impact on the outcome of a development process that they deserve economic history research. My paper will focus on the challenges of including such issues in regional economic history writing. Departing from research on the historical political economy of the Swedish Norrland region, I will discuss a number of research design challenges that the regional historian will need to manage and reflect upon. One such challenge concerns the use of theory. I will discuss how interest group theories may be used (and abused) to capture decisive relations and linkages between regional interest group demands on one hand and government decision-making on the other hand. I will also point at the importance of a critical attitude towards those myths, discourses and interpretations that may dominate the regional debate on a research field. In this respect, concepts and language may influence historical explanation to such an extent that they distort the understanding of the past. The historian will therefore need to confront those myths through a scientifically adequate research process.

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    File URL: http://www-sre.wu.ac.at/ersa/ersaconfs/ersa10/ERSA2010finalpaper1642.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by European Regional Science Association in its series ERSA conference papers with number ersa10p1642.

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    Date of creation: Sep 2011
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    Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa10p1642

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    1. Steven Toms & John Wilson, 2003. "Scale, scope and accountability: towards a new paradigm of British business history," Business History, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(4), pages 1-23.
    2. North, Douglass C., 1993. "Economic Performance through Time," Nobel Prize in Economics documents 1993-2, Nobel Prize Committee.
    3. Liebowitz, S J & Margolis, Stephen E, 1995. "Path Dependence, Lock-in, and History," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(1), pages 205-26, April.
    4. Nicholas Crafts, 2004. "Regional GDP in Britain, 1871-1911: some estimates," Economic History Working Papers 22557, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
    5. Fenoaltea, Stefano, 2003. "Peeking Backward: Regional Aspects of Industrial Growth in Post-Unification Italy," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 63(04), pages 1059-1102, December.
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