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Rethinking Regional Path Dependence: Beyond Lock-in to Evolution

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  • Ron Martin

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Abstract

This paper argues that in its 'canonical' form, the path dependence model, with its core concept of 'lock-in, affords a very restrictive and narrowly applicable account of regional and local industrial evolution, an account moreover that is tied to problematic underpinnings based on equilibrist thinking. As such the canonical path dependence model actually stresses continuity rather than change. The paper goes on to explore recent developments in historical sociology and political science, where there are active attempts to rethink the application of path dependence to the evolution of institutions so as to emphasise change rather than continuity. These developments are used to argue for a rethinking of path dependence ideas in economic geography.

Suggested Citation

  • Ron Martin, 2009. "Rethinking Regional Path Dependence: Beyond Lock-in to Evolution," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 0910, Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography, revised Sep 2009.
  • Handle: RePEc:egu:wpaper:0910
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    File URL: http://econ.geo.uu.nl/peeg/peeg0910.pdf
    File Function: Version September 2009
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    Cited by:

    1. Heike Schroeder, 2011. "Application possibilities of the micro-meso-macro framework in economic geography," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 1115, Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography, revised Aug 2011.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    path dependence; lock-in; equilibrium evolution; layering; conversion; adaptation;

    JEL classification:

    • B52 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches - - - Historical; Institutional; Evolutionary
    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)

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