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Observational Equivalence? Regional Studies and Regional Science

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  • Philip Mccann

Abstract

McCann P. (2007) Observational equivalence? Regional studies and regional science, Regional Studies 41, 1209-1221. This paper considers the methodological and empirical issues raised by the adoption of stylized constructs in the development of regional policy. Public policies invariably require funding, and the greater levels of public data availability and press scrutiny nowadays have led to increasing requirements for policy transparency driven by evidence-based policy design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. At the same time, however, many current urban and regional policy frameworks are increasingly being based on constructs that do not lend themselves to empirical evaluation. Therefore, there appears to be something of a mismatch. This paper discusses these problems and argues that instead of being seen as contradictory, one can regard certain aspects of regional analysis as raising topical questions and issues to be examined, while other methodological approaches are always required in order to respond to policy questions. Both can be seen as complements of each other, although designing policies which are based on constructs amenable to formal empirical evaluation is always required for ensuring good policy. McCann P. (2007) L'equivalence observationnelle? Les etudes et la science regionales, Regional Studies 41, 1209-1221. Cet article cherche a considerer les questions methodologiques et empiriques soulevees par l'adoption des concepts stylises dans l'evolution de la politique regionale. Il va sans dire que les politiques publiques doivent etre financees, et la disponibilite accrue des donnees publiques et l'examen plus approfondi par la presse ont amene a une demande croissante de transparence de politique, conduite par la conception de politique, par la mise en oeuvre, par le suivi et par l'evaluation fondes sur des preuves. En meme temps, beaucoup des cadres actuels des politiques urbaines et regionales sont de plus en plus fondes sur des concepts qui ne se pretent pas a l'evaluation empirique. Par la suite, il semble y avoir une disparite. Cet article discute de ces questions-la et affirme que, plutot que de les considerer comme contradictoires, on peut considerer que certains aspects de l'analyse regionale soulevent des questions d'actualite a examiner, tandis que d'autres facons methodologiques sont toujours necessaires pour repondre a des questions de politique. Les deux se completent, bien que la conception de politiques fondees sur des concepts qui se pretent a l'evaluation empirique formelle soit toujours necessaire pour assurer la bonne politique. Methodologie Analyse empirique Concepts stylises McCann P. (2007) Beobachtungsaquivalenz? Regionalstudien und Regionalwissenschaft, Regional Studies 41, 1209-1221. In diesem Beitrag untersuchen wir die methodologischen und empirischen Probleme, die bei der Gestaltung von Regionalpolitik durch die Ubernahme stilisierter Konstrukte entstehen. Offentliche Politiken sind unweigerlich auf eine Finanzierung angewiesen, und der grossere Umfang der offentlich verfugbaren Daten sowie die verstarkte Kontrolle durch die Presse haben dazu gefuhrt, dass strengere Anforderungen an die Transparenz der Politik gestellt werden, wofur erforderlich ist, dass die Politik auf der Grundlage von Beweisen gestaltet, umgesetzt, uberwacht und bewertet wird. Gleichzeitig stutzen sich jedoch zahlreiche urbane und regionale politische Rahmen immer haufiger auf Konstrukte, die keine empirische Bewertung zulassen. In diesem Bereich passen die Bestandteile daher offenbar nicht richtig zusammen. Diese Probleme werden in diesem Aufsatz erortert. Es wird argumentiert, dass man hierin keinen Widerspruch sehen sollte; vielmehr konnte man bestimmte Aspekte der Regionalanalyse so betrachten, dass sie aktuelle Fragen stellen und Probleme aufzeigen, die einer Uberprufung bedurfen, wahrend zur Beantwortung politischer Fragen grundsatzlich andere methodologische Ansatze benotigt werden. Diese beiden Elemente konnen als einander erganzend angesehen werden, wobei freilich die Gestaltung von Politiken auf der Grundlage von Konstrukten, die eine formelle empirische Bewertung ermoglichen, fur eine gute Politik grundsatzlich erforderlich ist. Methodologie Empirische Analyse Stilisierte Konstrukte McCann P. (2007) ¿Equivalencia de observacion? Estudios regionales y ciencia regional, Regional Studies 41, 1209-1221. En este articulo analizamos los problemas metodologicos y empiricos que ocurren en el desarrollo de la politica regional al adoptar conceptos estilizados. Es obvio que las politicas publicas deben ser financiadas y el gran numero de datos publicos disponibles asi como el escrutinio por parte de la prensa han llevado a que se exija cada vez mas transparencia politica guiada por el diseno, la aplicacion, el control y la evaluacion de las politicas basadas en evidencias. Sin embargo, estan aumentando a la vez las estructuras de politicas urbanas y regionales que se basan en conceptos que no permiten evaluaciones empiricas. Por este motivo parece que algo no concuerda. En este ensayo abordamos estos problemas y sostenemos que en lugar de considerar esto como contradictorio, podemos considerar que en ciertos aspectos de los analisis regionales surgen preguntas topicas y escollos y a la vez son necesarios otros enfoques metodologicos para dar una respuesta a estas cuestiones politicas. Ambos elementos pueden considerarse complementarios, si bien siempre es necesario disenar politicas basadas en conceptos que permiten una evaluacion empirica formal para garantizar un buena politica. Metodologia Analisis empirico Conceptos estilizados

Suggested Citation

  • Philip Mccann, 2007. "Observational Equivalence? Regional Studies and Regional Science," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(9), pages 1209-1222.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:regstd:v:41:y:2007:i:9:p:1209-1222
    DOI: 10.1080/00343400701624494
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    1. repec:spr:adspsc:978-3-540-35366-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Wagner, Alfred, 1891. "Marshall's Principles of Economics," History of Economic Thought Articles, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, vol. 5, pages 319-338.
    3. Zoltán J. Ács, 2002. "Innovation and the Growth of Cities," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 2656, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Andy Pike, 2007. "Editorial: Whither Regional Studies?," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(9), pages 1143-1148.
    2. Ron Boschma & Koen Frenken, 2009. "Some Notes on Institutions in Evolutionary Economic Geography," Economic Geography, Clark University, vol. 85(2), pages 151-158, April.
    3. Roberta Capello, 2009. "Indivisibilities, Synergy And Proximity: The Need For An Integrated Approach To Agglomeration Economies," Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, Royal Dutch Geographical Society KNAG, vol. 100(2), pages 145-159, April.
    4. Sara Cruz & Aurora Teixeira, 2010. "The Evolution of the Cluster Literature: Shedding Light on the Regional Studies-Regional Science Debate," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(9), pages 1263-1288.
    5. Ron Boschma & Ron Martin, 2010. "The Aims and Scope of Evolutionary Economic Geography," Chapters,in: The Handbook of Evolutionary Economic Geography, chapter 1 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    6. Barkley, David L., 2008. "Evaluations of Regional Competitiveness: Making a Case for Case Studies," The Review of Regional Studies, Southern Regional Science Association, vol. 38(2), pages 121-143.
    7. Joshua Drucker, 2012. "The Spatial Extent of Agglomeration Economies: Evidence from Three U.S. Manufacturing Industries," Working Papers 12-01, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    8. Evert Meijers & Martijn Burger & Michiel Meeteren & Zachary Neal & Ben Derudder, 2016. "Disentangling agglomeration and network externalities: A conceptual typology," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 95(1), pages 61-80, March.
    9. Frank Oort, 2008. "Philip Cooke and Luciana Lazzeretti (eds): Creative Cities, Cultural Clusters and Local Economic Development," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 32(3), pages 237-240, September.
    10. Hervas Oliver,Jose Luis & Gonzalez,Gregorio & Caja,Pedro, 2014. "Clusters and industrial districts: where is the literature going? Identifying emerging sub-fields of research," INGENIO (CSIC-UPV) Working Paper Series 201409, INGENIO (CSIC-UPV).

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