Department of Social Geography & Regional Development,
Faculty of Science, Charles University

We focus on theoretical and conceptual approaches to the study of economic geography and regional development, particularly in terms of global production networks, global value chains and regional innovation systems. 



Our main research fields

Snímek obrazovky 2020-02-14 v 17.27.49.p






Scientific Minds

PhD. candidate

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PhD. Candidate

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Petr Pavlínek | (2019-2021) | The Czech Science Foundation (GACR)

This project aims to analyze changes in the spatial organization and division of labor of the European automotive industry since 2000 with a particular focus on the changing position of East-Central Europe (ECE). It will examine detailed changes in the international trade with automotive products at the national level in order to evaluate the upgrading or downgrading of the automotive industry of individual countries. Based on the innovative methodology, the international trade data will be used to delimit and determine the changes in the position of individual countries in the core, periphery and semi-periphery of the European automotive industry between 2000 and 2018. The proposed project will also evaluate the impacts of rapid growth in ECE on the West European automotive industry by analyzing employment effects of plant rationalizations, closures and relocations by large firms between 2005 and 2020. Conceptually, the proposed research draws on the global production networks and global value chains perspectives combined with contemporary approaches to uneven economic development.


J Blazek, A Belohradsky, Z Holicka (2021)
European Planning Studies, 1-20

This article aims to address two research questions. First, what is the relationship between the basic characteristics of companies engaged in global and regional production networks (such as their tier, ownership, size) and their economic performance. In doing so, we scrutinize the empirical basis for frequent calls to ‘climb the ladder’. Second, we investigate the extent to which the economic performance of companies is related to their differing intensity of engagement into production networks, something largely disregarded in existing studies. The study uses economic indicators derived from a database covering the evolution of 55 Czech aerospace companies over a 14-year period. The methodology is based on descriptive statistics as well as on canonical correlation that helps to investigate multidimensional conditioning of economic performance of companies. The results show not only large variations in the economic performance of companies, but also several counter-intuitive trends. Our analysis consistently yielded the statistically significant finding that lead firms and first-tier suppliers are able to sacrifice short-term profitability and level of value added in order to reach a higher level of value capture. Therefore, the difference between value creation and value capture require careful consideration by researchers as well as by policymakers when comprehending the costs and benefits of functional upgrading.

Jiri Blazek, Viktor Kveton (2021)
Handbook on City and Regional Leadership

This chapter investigates the role of leaders in the process of deep socioeconomic transformation since the collapse of the state socialism, with a particular focus on the emergence of a regional innovation system in Moravia-Silesia, the largest Czech old industrial region. Methodologically, the chapter is based upon a long-lasting participative observation of socioeconomic evolution performed by both authors, as well as on interviews with key stakeholders (such as the former and current representatives of various intermediate bodies, leading academics and politicians) during the period 2018-19. First, we investigate key regional stakeholders’ perception on the extent to which city and regional leaders fulfilled their roles in terms of setting up the vision and reaching and sustaining consensus among the regional stakeholders, as well as ensuring practical steps to make their vision a reality. Second, we scrutinize variation in the practices of place leadership and examine the extent to which leaders tried to institutionalize their informal networks or exerted efforts to alter the existing institutional setup. Overall, the case of Moravia-Silesia suggests that good leaders make a substantial difference, especially under generally favourable framework conditions, when - in an ideal case - they can effectively use the opportunities offered during such enabling periods. By contrast, fighting a deep crisis requires leaders of truly exceptional calibre; such leaders were not available in the region at that time.

Jiri Blazek, Tereza Hejnova (2020)
European Urban and Regional Studies 27 (4), 359-378

The current phase of intensive globalisation, digitisation, the expansion of fintech companies and the overall impacts of the recent crisis seem to spur further concentration in the banking sector in terms of both the number of banks in operation and the number of banking centres. This research is motivated by the fact that, in contrast to leading financial and banking centres that attract considerable research attention, small banking centres have remained under-researched, despite their large number and the important role they play in their host communities and regions. This paper deals with the recent evolutionary dynamics of 199 small European banking centres and is based on an analysis of the economic performance of individual banks aggregated at the city level where they have their headquarters. The analysed indicators cover size, profitability and the level of risk of particular banks over the 2004–2015 period. In addition, the data were analysed for three basic European macro-regions (western Europe, southern Europe and central and eastern Europe) and in terms of the ownership of the banks headquartered in particular centres (foreign versus domestic). Our investigation shows that, even though a significant decline has been observed in the number of these centres, the financial performance of banks headquartered in small financial centres differs widely, depending significantly upon the European macro-region (a decisive number of defunct banking centres was concentrated in southern Europe) and the ownership structure.

P Netrdova, V Nosek (2020)
ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information 9 (6), 401

This paper focuses on the analysis of unemployment data in Czechia on a very detailed spatial structure and yearly, extended time series (2002–2019). The main goal of the study was to examine the spatial dimension of disparities in regional unemployment and its evolutionary tendencies on a municipal level. To achieve this goal, global and local spatial autocorrelation methods were used. Besides spatial and space-time analyses, special attention was given to spatial weight matrix selection. The spatial weights were created according to real-time accessibilities between the municipalities based on the Czech road network. The results of spatial autocorrelation analyses based on network spatial weights were compared to the traditional distance-based spatial weights. Despite significant methodological differences between applied spatial weights, the resulting spatial pattern of unemployment proved to be very similar. Empirically, relative stability of spatial patterns of unemployment with only slow shift of differentiation from macro-to microlevels could be observed.




March 31, 2020

Jiří Blažek: Knowledge bases, R&D structure and socio-economic and innovation performance


May 28-29, 2020
Mladá Boleslav, Czechia

October 26-27, 2020
Aalborg, Denmark



Department of Social Geography and Regional Development
Faculty of Science, Charles University
Albertov 6, Prague 2
128 43 Czechia


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