Industrial Transformation in Sweden 1978-2002 : Suggestions for an Evolutionary Approach to Regional Economic Change

University dissertation from Lund University

Author: Martin Henning; [2006]


Abstract: Schumpeter, Dahmén, Schön, Freeman, and other evolutionary scholars have shown that economic transformation and technological change are necessary prerequisites for long-term economic growth. However, for the Swedish case the exact sectoral and regional anatomy of the technology shift taking place since 1978 has not yet been disentangled. In this thesis, a disaggregation of the national process is performed. This is made possible through the creation of the DEVIL databases (Databases of Evolutionary Economic Geography in Lund) and a number of unique comparable time series on national and regional level. The analysis show that industries are exposed to very different transformation pressures. The dynamics of the technology shift could be analysed using three broad groups of industries: carriers, induced and followers, and outphasers. There are also regional dimensions to a technology shift and dramatic structural change seems to be accompanied by sigma divergence. Industries where transformation has not been dramatic or not taken place at all are characterised by much more stabile geographical patterns. The way in which regions are able to take part in the technology shift could be specified by their “regional transformation capacity”. In the thesis, suggestions for further research are made based on this theoretical notion. The framework of future studies is related to recent advances within evolutionary economic geography, combining time and space dimensions. Especially, it is argued that different kinds of externalities vary in importance according to different phases of the technology shift process. The implications of such arguments for further studies are far reaching.

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