Evolutionary Economics and Economic Geography

Posted: 20 Feb 2000

See all articles by Ron A. Boschma

Ron A. Boschma

Utrecht University - Faculty of Geographical Sciences

Jan G. Lambooy

Utrecht University - Faculty of Geographical Sciences

Abstract

This article attempts to explore how key notions from Evolutionary Economics, such as selection, path-dependency, chance and increasing returns, may be applied to two key topics in Economic Geography. The first issue is the problem of how to specify the (potential) impact of the spatial environment on new variety in terms of technological change. Evolutionary thinking may be useful to describe and explain: (1) the process of localized `collective' learning in a regional context, (2) the adjustment problems that regions may be confronted with in a world of increasing variation, and (3) the spatial formation of newly emerging industries as an evolutionary process, in which the spatial connotation of increasing returns (that is, agglomeration economies) may result in a spatial lock-in. The second issue is the problem of how new variety may affect the long-term evolution of the spatial system. We distinguish three approaches that, each in a different way, apply evolutionary notions to the nature of spatial evolution. This is strongly related to the issue whether mechanisms of chance and increasing returns, rather than selection and path-dependency, lay at the root of the spatial evolution of new technology.

JEL Classification: O18, O30, R00, R11

Suggested Citation

Boschma, Ron A. and Lambooy, Jan G., Evolutionary Economics and Economic Geography. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=198710

Ron A. Boschma (Contact Author)

Utrecht University - Faculty of Geographical Sciences ( email )

Postbus 80.115
3508 TC Utrecht
Netherlands
+31 30 2532896 (Phone)
+31 30 2532037 (Fax)

Jan G. Lambooy

Utrecht University - Faculty of Geographical Sciences ( email )

Postbus 80.115
3508 TC Utrecht
Netherlands
+31 30 2532230 (Phone)
+31 30 2532037 (Fax)

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