2016

WHOSE SUCCESS? THE STATE–FOREIGN CAPITAL NEXUS AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY IN SLOVAKIA

P Pavlínek (2016)
European Urban and Regional Studies 23 (4), 571-593

Using the case study of Slovakia, this article considers the role of the state in the rapid growth of the automotive industry in integrated peripheral markets of the global automotive industry. Although this growth has been mainly driven by the investment strategies of automotive lead firms, the state has played an important role by accommodating the strategic needs of foreign capital through neoliberal economic policies. In addition to secondary sources, the empirical research is based on a 2010 survey of 299 Slovak-based automotive firms with a response rate of 44% and on 38 on-site firm-level interviews conducted between 2011 and 2013 and one in 2005. The analysis draws upon approaches in economic geography, international political economy and upon global value chains and global production networks perspectives to argue that the successful development of the automotive industry in Slovakia has been achieved at the expense of its overwhelming dependence on foreign capital and corporate capture. The article considers the potential consequences of dependent industrial development for the domestic automotive industry and its position in the international division of labor.

VALUE CREATION AND VALUE CAPTURE IN THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY: EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE FROM CZECHIA

P Pavlínek, J Ženka (2016)
Environment and Planning A 48 (5), 937-959

This article investigates how distinct tiers of firms contribute to value creation and value capture in the automotive industry. We employ firm-level indicators to evaluate the value creation and capture of distinct supplier tiers in the Czech automotive industry, while considering differences between foreign-owned and domestic firms. Our analysis suggests that the economic effects of the automotive industry largely depend on its capital intensity and that mostly foreign-owned higher tier firms generate and capture greater value than lower tier firms, which include the vast majority of domestic suppliers.

LINKAGES AND SPILLOVERS IN GLOBAL PRODUCTION NETWORKS: FIRM-LEVEL ANALYSIS OF THE CZECH AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY

P Pavlínek, P Žížalová (2016)
Journal of Economic Geography 16 (2), 331-363

The aim of this article is to analyze the linkages between and spillovers from foreign-owned (foreign) to domestic-owned (domestic) firms in the Czech automotive industry. Theoretically and conceptually, our research draws on two strands of literature: spillovers, linkages and effects of foreign direct investment on domestic firms and regional economic development; and literature on global production networks, global value chains and industrial upgrading. Empirical analysis is based upon unique data collected by the authors through a questionnaire completed by 317 foreign and domestic firms in 2009 and on-site interviews with 100 firms conducted between 2009 and 2011. Data analysis has identified a low share of domestic suppliers in the total supplies of Czech-based foreign firms and diverse spillover effects from foreign to domestic firms. Domestic firms vary in their capabilities and absorptive capacity which, along with the particular nature of the contemporary automotive value chain, significantly influence their ability and potential to benefit from linkages and spillovers.

TOWARDS A TYPOLOGY OF REPOSITIONING STRATEGIES OF GVC/GPN SUPPLIERS: THE CASE OF FUNCTIONAL UPGRADING AND DOWNGRADING

J Blažek (2016)
Journal of Economic Geography 16 (4), 849-869

This article examines various upgrading and downgrading repositioning firm strategies within global value chains (GVCs) or global production networks (GPNs). It builds upon recent evidence that the mode of governance could vary profoundly among firms engaged in the same GVC/GPN. Therefore, the relevance of particular types of upgrading that were originally derived from the ideal types of GVC/GPN governance will be reconsidered. It is argued that the existing dissonance in the literature over possibilities for functional upgrading can be attributed to the different modes of governance that can exist within a particular GVC/GPN and to the diverse nature of functional upgrading. Consequently, a typology of functional upgrading is outlined, and it is argued that these different types vary significantly according to their probability and potential risk-benefit ratios. The article also introduces passive, adaptive and strategic downgrading and outlines their potential negative and positive effects on firms.

CAN EMERGING REGIONAL INNOVATION STRATEGIES IN LESS DEVELOPED EUROPEAN REGIONS BRIDGE THE MAIN GAPS IN THE INNOVATION PROCESS?

J Blažek, P Csank (2016)
Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy 34 (6), 1095-1114

This article considers key barriers to the process of innovation, as identified in a survey of firms and research institutions in the Czech region of South Moravia, which has been trying for more than a decade to spur innovation via successive regional innovation strategies. The article makes particular reference to the nature of newly emerging regional innovation systems in postcommunist countries and contributes to debates concerning the significance of localized processes of knowledge creation and dissemination for the competitiveness of a region. The article is based upon 188 in-depth interviews with representatives of firms and 90 interviews with leaders of prominent research teams in the region. The in-depth interviews allowed the identification of a wide array of barriers to the innovation process, which proved to be systematically related to the level of a firm’s entrepreneurial ambition. The level of ambition of firm’s strategy also translates into differing extent, to which analytical knowledge is being employed. The analysis identifies factors that are not yet adequately reflected in national or regional innovation policies and strategies, and several associated policy recommendations are set out in the concluding section of the paper.

THE CHALLENGE OF BREAKING THE ACADEMIA–BUSINESS FIREWALL IN CZECHIA: COMPARING THE ROLE OF DIFFERENTIATED KNOWLEDGE BASES IN COLLABORATIVE R&D PROJECTS

D Marek, J Blažek (2016)
European Planning Studies 24 (4), 809-831

Contemporary innovation processes increasingly involve a large number of networked actors, and cross-fertilization between knowledge institutions and firms has thus become a significant driver for innovation. Important insights into the differing nature of research and development (R&D) collaboration in particular sectors have been provided by research inspired by the knowledge-base approach embedded within innovation system (IS) theory. This study aims to contribute to this body of literature by applying the concept of differentiated knowledge bases to the former state-socialist countries, where the IS operates through a firewall between academia and industry. Data on collaborative R&D projects co-financed by public resources have allowed a detailed analysis of the nature of collaboration networks, revealing emerging patterns of academia–industry linkages and questioning the propositions stemming from the knowledge-based approach. The study concludes that collaborative science–industry networks show a very distinct topography when analytical and synthetic knowledge is compared.

THE ANATOMY OF DIFFERENCE: COMPREHENDING THE EVOLUTIONARY DYNAMICS OF ECONOMIC AND SPATIAL STRUCTURE IN THE AUSTRIAN AND CZECH ECONOMIES

J Novotný, J Blažek, V Květoň (2016)
European Planning Studies 24 (4), 788-808

The research on the economic convergence of Central and Eastern European countries towards the old EU members is voluminous, and it has an obvious appeal to both policy-makers and public. Unlike the traditional literature concerned with selected macro-patterns of the European convergence process, this paper presents a comparative study of two economies, attempting to comprehend more nuanced aspects and underlying mechanisms shaping their evolution. It examines the evolutionary dynamics of the structure and spatial organization of the Czech and Austrian economies since the late 1980s. Therefore, as a basis for subsequent analysis, the conceptual part attempts to systematize the key specific factors of the former command economies. The empirical results show that, despite significant similarities in the structure of these economies, the absolute and relative productivity as well as the spatial relatedness of the main types of industries reveal important differences between these two countries. These distinctions tend to be disregarded when making inferences about the European convergence process on the basis of traditional literature concerned predominantly with macro-patterns. Consequently, this study shows that since the collapse of socialism, Czechia has been reintegrated into the global economy in a different way from Austria, implying different evolutionary trajectories in the future.

THE TAKEOVER OF PRAGUE'S BANKING CLUSTER BY MULTINATIONAL GROUPS FROM AN EVOLUTIONARY PERSPECTIVE

I Blažek, J. Bečicová (2016)
Geografie 121, 254–278.

This article identifies the main drivers in the evolution of the banking cluster in Prague over the last two centuries. Conceptually, it employs the adaptive-cycle model of cluster evolution, which acknowledges the role of external factors in cluster evolution. An empirical analysis shows that the evolution of the banking cluster in Prague has been primarily driven by several episodes of major external disruptions. A particular attention is paid to the latest phase of cluster evolution, which started around the beginning of the 21st century when Prague’s banks were taken over by foreign multinational groups. We argue that, despite the numerous costs and risks associated with this “subsidiarisation” of the banking cluster in Prague, there were benefits, some of which were surprisingly manifested during the 2008–2009 global economic crisis.

SPATIAL PATTERNS OF UNEMPLOYMENT IN CENTRAL EUROPE: EMERGING DEVELOPMENT AXES BEYOND THE BLUE BANANA

P Netrdová, V Nosek (2016)
Journal of Maps 12 (4), 701-706

In this paper, we focus on mapping and analysing the spatial patterns of unemployment in four Central European countries – Austria, Czechia, Germany, and Poland, on municipal level in 2010. Specifically, based on the geo-social differentiation patterns, we are searching for secondary axes stretching from the Blue Banana (the major European economic development axis running from London to Milan) towards Eastern Europe. Unemployment is supposed to approximate economic development, thanks to its close relation to GDP and other economic indicators. To study spatial patterns and development axes on a micro scale, we use the concept of spatial autocorrelation, specifically Moran's I and LISA analysis. While we analyse more than 44,000 units, the resulting maps are very detailed and difficult to interpret on small scales. In this paper, we take advantage of the opportunity to present large-scale maps (1:2,500,000 and 1:6,000,000), which are also more suitable for the analytical conclusions that follow.

THE EFFICIENCY OF AREAL UNITS IN SPATIAL ANALYSIS: ASSESSING THE PERFORMANCE OF FUNCTIONAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE REGIONS

P Klapka, M Halás, P Netrdová, V Nosek (2016)
Moravian Geographical Reports 24 (2), 47-59

An attempt to provide a procedure for the assessment of the efficiency of various regional systems for the purposes of spatial analysis is presented in this paper. Functional regions as well as approximated functional regions and the existing administrative regions in the Czech Republic are evaluated, as examples of regional systems to be compared and assessed. Functional regions and approximated functional regions are defined according to the adjusted third variant of the CURDS regionalisation algorithm, using the latest knowledge on the operation of the constraint function. The comparisons of individual regional systems are based on LISA maps and particularly on the assessment of regional variability, including the measures of internal homogeneity and external variability in the regional systems.

TRANSPORT SUPPLY AND DEMAND CHANGES IN RELATION TO UNEMPLOYMENT: EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE FROM THE CZECH REPUBLIC IN A TIME OF CRISIS

M Marada, V Květoň (2016)
Tijdschrift voor economische en sociale geografie 107 (5), 611-627

The continuing European recession underlines the urgency of the unemployment and labour force mobility issue. Therefore, the objective of this study is to scrutinise the relationship between changes in unemployment rate and transport indicators in the intercensal period 2001–2011. Both primary and secondary data are used in the analysis. Rate of car ownership and commuting data were taken from national censuses in 2001 and 2011 which surrounded the 2008 crisis. Primary data came from 1,023 interviews. The relationships among indicators are identified with the help of several statistical techniques whose results are analysed. Further, analyses have confirmed the dominant importance of passenger car ownership and car use in relation to decreased unemployment. It is particularly important in economically weaker areas with a poor access, that are endangered by social exclusions. Furthermore, it is necessary to emphasise the importance of public transport as a means of preventing social exclusion.

 

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