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An Interactive Economic Policy Approach to Manage Structural Change: The case of industry conversion in the German state of Bremen


  • Wolfram Elsner


The present paper deals with (1) the regional experience of a severe and sudden structural change sometimes faced by regions and cities which display considerable industrial specialisation, and (2) a proactive regional economic policy response: it offers a theoretical explanation of this policy and discusses the basic philosophy behind it, the agents involved, the instruments it employs and its effects. The German state (Land) of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen is a port and industry centre that has not only had considerable experience of industrial decline, but also of proactive industrial policy involvement. In addition, being the centre of the defence industry in northern Germany, Bremen experienced dramatic structural change due to the disarmament process that occurred during the 1990s. Bremen's industrial defence conversion approach has been widely considered as a case for further developing network forms of regional economic policy and for a managed industrial diversification strategy. It has indeed developed as a way to manage industrial change during the last ten years. This paper will discuss (1) the basic industrial problem; (2) some background conditions needed for success; (3) the approach and instruments developed; (4) the results obtained; and (5) a theoretical consideration on the basis of the experience.

Suggested Citation

  • Wolfram Elsner, 2001. "An Interactive Economic Policy Approach to Manage Structural Change: The case of industry conversion in the German state of Bremen," International Review of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(4), pages 411-428.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:irapec:v:15:y:2001:i:4:p:411-428
    DOI: 10.1080/02692170110081949

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Nayyar, Deepak, 1988. "The Political Economy of International Trade in Services," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(2), pages 279-298, June.
    2. Singh, Ajit, 1977. "UK Industry and the World Economy: A Case of De-industrialisation?," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 1(2), pages 113-136, June.
    3. Singh, Ajit, 1989. "Third World Competition and De-industrialisation in Advanced Countries," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(1), pages 103-120, March.
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