Understanding systems of regional renewal: case studies of Dresden, Freiberg, Adelaide and the Barossa

Louise Rawlings (2009). Understanding systems of regional renewal: case studies of Dresden, Freiberg, Adelaide and the Barossa PhD Thesis, School of Political Science & Internat'l Studies, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Louise Rawlings
Thesis Title Understanding systems of regional renewal: case studies of Dresden, Freiberg, Adelaide and the Barossa
School, Centre or Institute School of Political Science & Internat'l Studies
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2009-01
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Professor Rachel Parker
Professor Paul Boreham
Total pages 298
Total colour pages 6
Total black and white pages 292
Subjects 16 Studies in Human Society
Abstract/Summary This project is concerned with developing an understanding of systems of regional renewal (defined as where a restructuring of regional industries or technologies takes place or where new firms or industries emerge). The framework used for the study was an adapted version of the Holmen-McKelvey analytical tool designed for the systematic study of regional renewal. This included analysing social capital, organisations, and path dependency. As the study was concerned with understanding the operation of regions which by nature are complex systems, the study made use of a qualitative case study method. Four case studies were analysed in depth, two each from Germany and Australia: Dresden, Freiberg, Adelaide, and the Barossa. The conclusions from the research are twofold. The thesis argues that the Holmen and McKelvey framework varies across regions and that that the variation can be explained by the ‘varieties of capitalism’ literature. That is, regional renewal systems work differently in different regions because regions are part of a national political-institutional context (or variety of capitalism). First, the paths to regional renewal vary across regions. There are many and varied contributing factors to regional renewal and a holistic approach is needed in analysing the sources of regional renewal as well as in formulating regional policy. Social capital and path dependency in particular were important across all four cases, suggesting that social capital can enable the mobilisation of regional attributes and that historical and context specific aspects of a region need to be considered in regional direction setting. While some contribution by these factors was consistent across all four cases, their apparent strength and the nature of their contributions varied. The roles of universities, government bodies, multinational corporations, small-and-medium-sized enterprises, technology parks, non-university research bodies, and industry associations displayed even more variation amongst the cases suggesting that there can be no ‘cut and paste’ or one-size-fits-all approach to regional renewal. Before policy is formulated and implemented, there needs to be a systemic analysis of regional assets and deficiencies. Second, the thesis suggests that renewal systems work differently in different regions because regions are part of a national political-institutional context. Different paths to regional renewal can be explained in terms of different institutional capacities for state-led coordination and governance of the regional institutional environment. The thesis puts forward the proposition that we might expect national structures to impact on the functioning of systems of regional renewal. The case analysis suggests that we might expect coordinated attempts at regional renewal involving several actors to be more successful in coordinated market economies than in uncoordinated market economies. The four cases in this research indicate the national business system impacts on the local level. Five key differences between the German and Australian cases were: the approach of the state at a regional level, social capital, the education and training system, policy continuity, and multinational embeddedness. National policies provide a critical role of strategic planning at the local level. How can an uncoordinated market environment at the national level which includes a focus on competition and anti-trust facilitate cooperation between firms and other actors at the local level which is seen as critical for coordinated attempts at regional renewal? Thus a key lesson from this research is that to achieve regional renewal, different regions require locally appropriate policies supported by national directions.
Keyword Regional innovation, social capital, organisations, industrial policy, technology, economic development.
Additional Notes please print the following pages in colour: 41, 109, 140, 142, 170, 172.

 
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Created: Mon, 26 Oct 2009, 19:34:32 EST by Ms Louise Rawlings on behalf of Library - Information Access Service