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On the battle between shipbuilding regions in Germany and South Korea


  • Marion Eich-Born
  • Robert Hassink


Over time we can observe a dramatic global shift in shipbuilding activities, from Great Britain to Continental Europe to Japan to South Korea; most recently China is gaining ground. Every transition is accompanied by institutional and political reactions, leading to protectionism and trade conflicts. The most recent of these battles is being fought out between the European Commission, in particular Germany as a major player in this market, and South Korea, which is accused of illegally supporting its shipyards. As state support has traditionally played an important role, both in establishing and in protecting shipbuilding as a strategic industry within a national economy, the concept of political lock-in appears to provide a promising method for explaining both the rise, through its enabling element, and delayed fall, through its constraining element, of these specific regional economies. Against the background of this theoretical concept, an empirical study comparing two competing shipbuilding regions -- Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in eastern Germany and Gyeongnam in South Korea -- was conducted; the results are twofold. First, restructuring the shipbuilding industry in these two regions seems less affected by local and regional factors than it is by national and international organisations. National and international organisations are, under globalisation conditions, increasingly responsible for regulating the conditions of competition, but are failing to do so. Second, because of the multiscale involvement of political and economic actors and, hence, the increasing complexity of the restructuring process, the concept of political lock-in needs to be integrated into a much broader explanatory framework -- which the authors develop.

Suggested Citation

  • Marion Eich-Born & Robert Hassink, 2005. "On the battle between shipbuilding regions in Germany and South Korea," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 37(4), pages 635-656, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:pio:envira:v:37:y:2005:i:4:p:635-656

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    Cited by:

    1. Dawley, Stuart & Pike, Andy & Tomaney, John, 2010. "Towards the resilient region?: policy activism and peripheral region development," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 33523, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    2. repec:bla:jregsc:v:57:y:2017:i:2:p:245-265 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Robert Hassink, 2010. "Locked in Decline? On the Role of Regional Lock-ins in Old Industrial Areas," Chapters,in: The Handbook of Evolutionary Economic Geography, chapter 21 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. Dirk Fornahl & Robert Hassink & Claudia Klaerding & Ivo Mossig & Heike Schröder, 2011. "From the Old Path of Shipbuilding onto the New Path of Offshore Wind Energy? The Case of Northern Germany," European Planning Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(5), pages 835-855, September.
    5. Rikard Eriksson & Martin Henning & Anne Otto, 2014. "Regional and industrial mobility of workers leaving mature industries. A study of individuals who exit the Swedish shipbuilding industry 1970-2000," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 1415, Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography, revised Jul 2014.
    6. Eich-Born, Marion, 2009. "Fit machen für das 21. Jahrhundert: Plädoyer für einen Paradigmenwechsel in der Regionalpolitik," Arbeitsmaterial der ARL: Aufsätze,in: Räumlich differenzierte Entwicklungs- und Förderstrategien für Nordostdeutschland für Nordostdeutschland, pages 30-58 Akademie für Raumforschung und Landesplanung (ARL) - Leibniz-Forum für Raumwissenschaften.

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