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The Challenges of Including Political Economy Research in Regional Economic History


  • Martin Eriksson



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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  • Martin Eriksson, 2011. "The Challenges of Including Political Economy Research in Regional Economic History," ERSA conference papers ersa10p1642, European Regional Science Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa10p1642

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Nicholas Crafts, 2005. "Regional Gdp In Britain, 1871-1911: Some Estimates," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 52(1), pages 54-64, February.
    2. North, Douglass C, 1994. "Economic Performance through Time," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 359-368, June.
    3. 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.
    4. 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 205-226, April.
    5. repec:cup:apsrev:v:94:y:2000:i:02:p:251-267_22 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. 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.
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