2018

GLOBAL PRODUCTION NETWORKS, FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT, AND SUPPLIER LINKAGES IN THE INTEGRATED PERIPHERIES OF THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY

P Pavlinek (2018)
Economic Geography 94 (2), 141-165

This article examines the regional development effects of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the integrated peripheries of the automotive industry by analyzing supplier linkages between foreign subsidiaries and domestic firms. It develops the spatial concept of integrated peripheries in core-based macroregional production networks. Conceptually, it draws on the dynamic notion of uneven development in contemporary capitalism, namely, on David Harvey’s spatiotemporal fix and on the global production networks concept of strategic coupling to investigate the mode of articulation of integrated peripheries into macro-regional production networks. Empirically, it analyzes the quantity and quality of supplier linkages in the automotive industry of Slovakia based on unique data collected by the author from both foreign subsidiaries and domestic firms through a survey completed by 133 automotive firms in 2010 and interviews with 50 automotive firms conducted between 2011 and 2015. The empirical analysis uncovered weak and dependent supplier linkages between foreign subsidiaries and domestic firms, which undermine the potential for technology and knowledge transfer from foreign subsidiaries to the domestic economy and positive long-term regional development effects of large FDI by automotive industry corporations in integrated peripheries.

KNOWLEDGE BASES, R&D STRUCTURE AND SOCIO-ECONOMIC AND INNOVATION PERFORMANCE OF EUROPEAN REGIONS

J Blazek, V Kadlec (2018)
Innovation: The European Journal of Social Science Research 32 (1), 26-47

Due to numerous idiosyncratic features, a profound variety in the level of development and in the nature of regional innovation systems is often acknowledged. This paper has aimed to contribute to existing research by unraveling mutual relationships among knowledge bases, R&D structure and innovation performance of European regions. Our analysis showed that the differences among the European regions in their prevailing knowledge base and in the absolute and relative sizes of key segments of R&D systems are systematic and mutually interwoven. Generally, advanced regions are often typified by the lowest share of synthetic knowledge base and either by a dominance of the private R&D or by a relatively balanced structure between private and public R&D, while the opposite holds for lagging regions.

ENTRANCE-EXIT DYNAMICS OF SUPPLIERS AND THE REPERCUSSIONS FOR RESHAPING THE STRUCTURE OF GVCS/GPNS

J Blažek, K Natsuda, J Sýkora (2018)
European Planning Studies 26 (12), 2364-2386

The analysis of entrance and exit dynamics of suppliers into and from GVCs/GPNs has remained on a sideline, despite emerging evidence of the substantial dynamics of suppliers exiting value chains, induced for example by a paradigm of streamlining the supply base. Thus, this article aims to contribute to research on global production via the identification of the key firm-level causal drivers guiding the entrance-exit dynamics of companies within GVCs/GPNs leading to substantial but variegated evolutionary dynamics reshaping the structure of particular chains or networks, resulting in profound impacts upon the companies, localities and regions concerned.

PATH-DEVELOPMENT TRAJECTORIES AND BARRIERS PERCEIVED BY STAKEHOLDERS IN TWO CENTRAL EUROPEAN LESS DEVELOPED REGIONS: NARROW OR BROAD CHOICE?

V Květoň, J Blažek (2018)
European Planning Studies 26 (10), 2058-2077

This paper aims at the comprehension of feasible development trajectories conceptualized within the new path-development model in the case of two less developed regions in Central Europe (CE). The main new element of this paper comprises the examination of the perception of key barriers and mechanisms hindering particular evolutionary trajectories by regional stakeholders and their comparison with those conceptualized in the literature. Although conceptual characteristics of prevailing path types in different regional innovation systems do exist, empirical verification from less developed regions such as those in CE is insufficient. On the basis of interviews with regional stakeholders, a typology of barriers for pathways conceptualized to date was elaborated from a CE perspective. Our study showed that the feasibility of a more radical path is hindered by a wide range of barriers operating at different levels. The elaborated typology of barriers for various path-development trajectories outlined the main hindrances constraining key regional actors, linkages and institutions. Given the general weakness of the overall RIS, path-extension and path-modernization trajectories are bound to be the most realistic options for this type of less developed regions. Our study revealed existing regional dynamics as built predominately upon incremental changes within rooted but prospective industrial branches.

THE IMPACTS OF THE GLOBAL ECONOMIC CRISIS AND ITS AFTERMATH ON THE BANKING CENTRES OF EUROPE

J Blažek, T Hejnová, H Rada (2018)
European Urban and Regional Studies

This paper aims to unravel the impacts of the global economic crisis upon European banking centres on the basis of the evolution of key economic indicators, such as total assets, profitability and the level of risk to the banking sector over the 2004–2015 period. Counterintuitively, the European leading banking centres (London, Paris and Frankfurt), despite their extensive exposure to capital markets, displayed a high level of resilience, which contrasts with the evolution of the other major Western European centres, which clearly lagged behind the European leaders. From a macro-regional perspective, banking centres in Western Europe exhibited the first signals of both the crisis and the recovery, which were subsequently diffused across Europe. Surprisingly, the profitability of low-ranking banking centres in Central and Eastern Europe remained the highest over the whole 2004–2015 period, as these banks operate predominantly within a regional (national) market. Overall, during the 2004–2015 period, London, Paris and Frankfurt clearly strengthened their dominance among European banking centres.

SMART SPECIALISATION IN REGIONS WITH LESS-DEVELOPED RESEARCH AND INNOVATION SYSTEMS: A CHANGING ROLE FOR UNIVERSITIES?

P Vallance, J Blažek, J Edwards, V Květoň (2018)
Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space 36 (2), 219-238

Universities and other knowledge institutions have quickly come to be seen as central to smart specialisation. However, their exact role in Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation has yet to receive much critical attention in the academic literature. This is particularly notable as defining features of smart specialisation – such as the entrepreneurial dynamic of the strategy-formation process, and differentiated nature of the goals for strategies in regions with varying research and innovation capabilities – represent challenges to the notion that public research organisations should be drivers of smart specialisation in all regions. This paper articulates these conceptual tensions and then explores how they are unfolding in practice with particular reference to regions with less-developed research and innovation systems. The empirical material is drawn from a European-wide survey of institutional factors affecting the implementation of Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation and two regional case studies from Central and Eastern Europe. Overall the paper reveals a multifaceted picture of still emerging (and potentially conflicting) dynamics around the introduction of smart specialisation that have the potential to reconfigure the role of universities in regional innovation systems in Europe.

EVOLUTION OF KNOWLEDGE BASES IN EUROPEAN REGIONS: SEARCHING FOR SPATIAL REGULARITIES AND LINKS WITH INNOVATION PERFORMANCE

V Květoň, V Kadlec (2018)
European Planning Studies 26 (7), 1366-1388

This paper aims at a greater comprehension of the distribution of differentiated knowledge bases and their association with innovation performance. Drawing on evolutionary economic geography, we applied a combinatorial and dynamic view on knowledge bases. The main contribution is the examination of changes and transformations of knowledge bases over time in particular group of regions in Europe and links with innovation performance. Our study revealed systematic regularities between regions with different innovation performance and their knowledge bases. With decreasing regional innovation performance the volatility of knowledge bases over time increases. Innovation leaders evinced stability over time and the most balanced composition of knowledge bases (compared with Central and Eastern Europe regions). Western European countries and regions exhibit the most balanced structure of knowledge bases. An important complementarity and synergy has been identified in the close relatedness of the symbolic knowledge base to the analytical knowledge base. The highest intensity of SME cooperation takes place in regions with a strong analytical base and in regions with the most balanced mix among all three bases (particularly in the UK, the Netherlands and Belgium. Underperforming in innovation show a balanced mix of synthetic and symbolic knowledge bases.

 

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