Dynamics of Spatial Distribution of Economic Activities

Economic Geography

The research theme Dynamics of Spatial Distribution of Economic Activities investigates the spatial distribution of economic activities and how it changes overtime. This general goal is addressed at different levels of analysis.

At micro-level, we investigate the locational behaviour of firms, consumers and individuals (e.g. workers, scientists, migrants) and the role and position they play in local and global economies. Special attention is paid to the impact of high skilled immigration, foreign direct investments, institutions and firms’ spin-off on the innovation performance and economic diversification of cities and regions.

At meso and macro-levels, we investigate how firms and people in cities and regions form complex networks and how they evolve over time and space. These networks shape the evolution of economic systems and indicate which trajectories are more likely to emerge. On the long run, disruptive shocks in economic systems can cause regions to develop new growth paths, while on the short term they usually develop along path dependent trajectories. At this level of analysis, we address also how the build-up of new and the adaptation of existing institutions facilitate or hamper structural change to various degrees and in different forms.

Major changes in policy-thinking at these different levels of analysis are also addressed, such as smart specialization policy, industrial and innovation policy, and cohesion policy.

Within this theme, empirical analysis is conducted using state-of-the art statistical analysis and data rigor. Both quantitative and qualitative research methods and techniques are regarded as legitimate tools to increase our understanding of urban and regional economic development and policy.