FROM COAL-MINING TO DATA-MINING: THE ROLE OF LEADERSHIP IN THE EMERGENCE OF A REGIONAL INNOVATION SYSTEM IN AN OLD INDUSTRIAL REGION
J Blazek, V 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.
SUSTAINABLE URBAN MOBILITY: ONE DEFINITION, DIFFERENT STAKEHOLDERS’ OPINIONS
HB Foltynova, E Vejchodska, K Rybova, V Kveton (2020)
Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment 87, 102465
During recent decades, the debate on how to sustain urban mobility has accelerated. Transport decision-making has been more reflective of sustainability issues and quality of life in cities; this process has especially accelerated with the setting of modern urban mobility planning concepts, substantially focusing on transport demand regulation and management, and Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans taking over the role of cities’ primary transport-related strategic documents. The approaches to sustainable mobility visioning and planning differ within cities, as do their key stakeholders’ opinions. Our research aims to reveal the main shared viewpoints on the preferred paths towards sustainable urban mobility. We use the Q method, which is a statistical method to study subjectivity. It enables determination of characteristic shared viewpoints on a particular subject. A qualitative analysis assessing subjective opinions is combined with the quantitative approach of a factor analysis of statements ranked by respondents. The study was undertaken on 36 carefully selected stakeholders situated within the Czech Republic. Our results indicate that even stakeholders sharing the same definition of sustainable urban mobility may substantially differ in regard to their ideas on how to achieve it. Furthermore, we show that some of the attitudes expressed and measures appreciated by our respondents would not be recognised as sustainable by environmentalists. There is still a wide gap between sustainable mobility theory and its implementation in practice. All these findings represent barriers to sustainable mobility development in urban areas. Therefore, the paper also conveys relevant policy implications.
SPATIAL CHANGES IN DISTRIBUTION OF FIRMS AND SELECTED INDUSTRIES AROUND NEW MOTORWAY
M Petras, V Kveton (2020)
Applied Geography 121, 102263
The paper examines changes in economic activity occurring in municipalities around the motorway D11, after a new section of motorway has been opened in 2006. The aim of the paper is to determine the extent to which the detected changes in the region can be connected with the opening of the motorway section. The changes in establishment and extinction of firms with distinction by industry sector are evaluated using descriptive analysis and Difference in differences method. The results of the research show certain manifestations regarding the opening of the motorway, since the changes in firm birth intensity are the highest in the group of municipalities that are within 8–12 min’ drive from the motorway, and with increasing distance from the motorway the in-tensity decreases. The link with the proximity of the motorway indicates increase of firms in general, within sector categories it stands for manufacturing industry, construction and logistics. At the same time, for munic-ipalities at the distance of 12–20 min away we recorded slight decrease of firm birth intensity in comparison to a period before opening of the motorway section. These results indicate that the main road infrastructure positively influences only the nearest area.
THE VARIEGATED ROLE OF PROXIMITIES IN ACQUISITIONS BY DOMESTIC AND INTERNATIONAL COMPANIES IN DIFFERENT PHASES OF ECONOMIC CYCLES
V Kveton, A Belohradsky, J Blazek (2020)
Papers in Regional Science
This paper aims at an understanding of acquisition processes in a strongly industrialized and export‐oriented economy in Central Europe. Drawing on a proximity framework and behaviour theory, the paper investigates that the geographical proximity dimension is more influential than the cognitive proximity dimension. At the same time, cognitive proximity matters more for foreign firms investing into the economy than for domestic acquisitions. While the role of cognitive proximity diminished during the economic crisis, geographical proximity keeps its importance throughout the economic cycle. Moreover, cognitive proximity has become more important for acquisitions of large companies and less for SMEs.
THE DARK SIDE OF REGIONAL INDUSTRIAL PATH DEVELOPMENT: TOWARDS A TYPOLOGY OF TRAJECTORIES OF DECLINE
J Blazek, V Kveton, S Baumgartinger-Seiringer, M Trippl (2020)
European Planning Studies, 1-19
Over the past few years, scholarly debates on new path development have attracted increasing attention within the economic geography literature. This work distinguishes various trajectories of regional and industrial evolution. So far, these evolutionary trajectories have been mainly conceptualized as ‘positive’ forms of path development. However, in reality, many regions are undergoing phases that can be characterized as ‘negative’ trajectories. Despite their potentially detrimental social and political effects, negative pathways have to date largely been ignored in the extant literature. This paper seeks to shed light on the ‘dark side’ of path development by outlining a typology of ‘pathways of decline’. Three forms of negative pathways are identified, namely path contraction, path downgrading and path delocalization. Empirical illustrations are provided for each of them.
DOES INNOVATION SUPPORT AND MATURITY MATTER FOR FIRMS’ PERFORMANCE IN A MODERATELY DEVELOPED REGIONAL INNOVATION SYSTEM IN CENTRAL EUROPE?
M Kostic, V Kveton (2020)
Innovation: The European Journal of Social Science Research, 1-28
Regional innovation systems in Central and Eastern Europe suffer from many handicaps connected with generally lower levels of business activity and unfavourable positions of firms within global value chains. In this paper, results of business coaching programmes implemented in South Moravia (Czechia) are evaluated. The success of support is assessed (1) in terms of turnover, value added and employment growth (using a counterfactual analysis), and (2) according to the maturity of companies. Average annual growth of the treated companies was higher compared to a control group of non-supported firms. Apart from the initial dynamic growth, the supported start-ups underwent the fastest growth between 2 and 3 years after entering the programme, when the impact of the support on their performance was fully expressed. The findings bring new insights into the effects of targeted support of companies, using unique company data combined with qualitative information on the results of evaluated measures.
USING MIXED METHOD APPROACH IN MEASURING EFFECTS OF TRAINING IN FIRMS: CASE STUDY OF THE EUROPEAN SOCIAL FUND SUPPORT
M Pelucha, V Kveton, O Potluka (2019)
Evaluation and program planning 73, 146-155
Public support of training in firms corresponds to the long-term importance of the quality of human capital in the competitiveness of firms and nations. Thus, the EU supports such training via the European Social Fund (ESF). The evaluation community evaluates the support by using either qualitative or quantitative methods. The simultaneous application of these two approaches is rare. The purpose of this paper is to combine quantitative (counterfactual impact evaluation) and qualitative (qualitative comparative analysis) methods in order to fill the methodological gap. Based on the combination of both approaches, it explores their strengths, complementarity and disadvantages to evaluate public support for employee training in the Czech Republic. The combination of methods makes it possible to identify not only the impacts but also their causes. Linking the ESF support to corporate competitiveness is crucial for demonstrating the effectiveness of public spending.
INNOVATION-BASED REGIONAL CHANGE IN EUROPE: CHANCES, RISKS AND POLICY IMPLICATIONS: SOUTH MORAVIA: FROM A QUICK FIX BY FOREIGN INVESTMENTS TOWARDS A BOTTOM-UP POLICY LEARNING?
J Blazek, D Uhlir, V Kveton, D Marek (2019), eds. K Koschatzky, T Stahlecker
A central assumption in current debates on the geography of innovation is that a firm's location affects its ability to innovate (Isaksen and Karlsen 2016). Conceptualised as geographical proximity, it is argued that co-location of firms and actors such as universities and intermediaries effectively supports the emergence of innovation, especially in larger agglomerations. This assumption rests on two theoretical building blocks: localisation and urbanisation economies. The idea of localisation economies goes back to Marshall (1927) who suggested that a regional specialisation of economic activities provides pecuniary and non-pecuniary benefits to firms from related industries, for instance through eased exchange of knowledge and common use of regional resources such as a specialised labour market. Discussed in terms of urbanisation economies (Jacobs 1969), the diversity of economic activities and actors and the associated potential of cross-fertilisation provide further positive externalities. Diverse economic structures bring together heterogeneous actors and facilitate a fruitful exchange of resources.
REGIONAL EMBEDDEDNESS, RELATEDNESS AND INTER-REGIONAL LINKAGES AMONG LESS DEVELOPED REGIONS IN CENTRAL EUROPE
V Kveton, K Safr (2019)
European Planning Studies
This paper aims at a comprehension of existing intra-/inter-regional production flows in a dynamically transforming, export-oriented economy in Central Europe. Drawing on evolutionary economic geography combined with input–output approaches, we have assessed the sectoral compositions and relationships between regions from a buyer-supplier interactions perspective. Inspired by contemporary literature we applied concepts of regional embeddedness, relatedness and vertically related variety. Conceptually we argue that the degree of embeddedness of regions is differentiated and spatially non-random. The differences will depend to a large extent on the economic characteristics and on the ability of key actors and institutions in these regions to respond actively to changing opportunities and threats. Empirically we have found: that economically more developed regions are relatively more embedded in terms of production flows and have greater sectoral variety, whereas regions with high export-dependence are economically backward, and have higher concentration of industry and negative associations with innovation activity and overall innovation potential. The intensity of interregional production flows increases as the regional economies vary more from each other, but beyond a certain level of structural difference the rate of mutual flows decreases; and that the intensity of interregional relations depends on the relatedness of the economic bases.
SMART SPECIALISATION IN REGIONS WITH LESS-DEVELOPED RESEARCH AND INNOVATION SYSTEMS: A CHANGING ROLE FOR UNIVERSITIES?
P Vallance, J Blazek, J Edwards, V Kveton (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 Kveton, 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.
THE EFFECT OF PUBLIC R&D SUBSIDIES ON FIRMS' COMPETITIVENESS: REGIONAL AND SECTORAL SPECIFICS IN EMERGING INNOVATION SYSTEMS
V Kveton, P Horak
Applied Geography 94, 119-129
This article examines regional and sectoral impacts of R&D subsidies on firms in Czechia during the period 2007–2014. Driven by still-developing innovation policies where regional innovation systems are emerging, R&D support plays an important role for activating regional potential. To explore this we employed a geographical perspective and a combination of two counterfactual approaches. Our results revealed that R&D support has a higher net effect on companies operating in regions with lower R&D intensity. In the most advanced regions, the differences in effects between supported and unsupported entities are very small and targeted support no longer plays such a significant role. In contrast, indirect tax support associated with innovation activity is applied much more often. Furthermore, our case study in the South Moravian Region revealed that the impact of R&D support is changing over time and reflects from economic cycles. It has been confirmed that direct R&D support in this advanced regional innovation system is associated negatively with firms' competitiveness.
THE ROLE OF EU RURAL DEVELOPMENT POLICY IN THE NEO-PRODUCTIVIST AGRICULTURAL PARADIGM
M Pelucha, V Kveton (2017)
Regional Studies 51 (12), 1860-1870
The role of EU rural development policy in the neo-productivist agricultural paradigm. Regional Studies. European Union rural development policy tools have renewed their emphasis on agriculture for the period 2014–20. This shift has been driven by an incoming neo-productivism paradigm, a terminology only recently applied to rural studies. This paper focuses on the discussion of European Union rural policy positions in the context of key drivers of neo-productivism. Existing academic debates focus mainly on ‘neo-productivist agriculture’, with less attention paid to rural development policy. This review shows the need to address the terminological issues of this policy and to reflect upon the territorial impact of other sectoral policies.
BARRIERS OF SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP DEVELOPMENT – A CASE STUDY OF THE CZECH REPUBLIC
M Pelucha, J Kourilova, V Kveton (2017)
Journal of Social Entrepreneurship 8 (2), 129-148
Social entrepreneurship (SE) began to be strongly supported in Central and Eastern European countries during the programming period of 2007–2013. However, the level of SE development still lags behind developed countries. The paper focuses on the identification of barriers to SE development in the Czech Republic and recommendations for policymaking. The value added is the adaptation of the Community of Practice on Inclusive Entrepreneurship methodology and its verification. A limited range of financial support options and a lack of interest of banks to improve the availability of loans were identified as main barriers to the development of SE.
THEORY AND REALITY OF THE EU’S RURAL DEVELOPMENT POLICY APPLICATION IN THE CONTEXT OF TERRITORIAL COHESION PERSPECTIVE—THE CASE OF THE CZECH REPUBLIC IN THE LONG-TERM PERIOD OF 2004–2013
M Pelucha, V Kveton, K Safr (2017)
Land use policy 62, 13-28
Strategic and legislative documents concerning the EU’s rural development policy emphasise the link with territorial cohesion. Long-term identification of the countryside with agriculture, however, ushered in a focus on this sector in the rural development policy. This has been also further emphasised by the policy inclusion into the Common Agricultural Policy in 2007. The aim of this paper is to assess the socio-economic characteristics of the municipalities, within which subsidies of the rural development policy were localised. The analysis includes the most important tools in terms of financial allocation. These tools are divided into the agricultural and non-agricultural allocations, for the period of 2004–2013. The results of the analysis indicate close interconnections and a targeting of agricultural tools on farmland and municipalities with characteristics of the supported sector. Non-agricultural tools were marginal in financial terms and diversified with respect to their focus. The relationship of the provided subsidies with the socio-economic level of the supported municipalities was not entirely clear. The dominant part of the rural development policy was therefore not implemented in line with the objectives of the socio-economic dimension of territorial cohesion.
EVALUATION CULTURE WITHIN INSTITUTIONAL AND METHODOLOGICAL CONTEXT: THE CASE OF EU STRUCTURAL FUNDS IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC
M Pelucha, V Kveton (2017)
Evaluation Theory and Practice
Evaluation culture within institutional and methodological context: the case of EU Structural Funds in the Czech Republic
THE VARIETY OF RELATED VARIETY STUDIES: OPENING THE BLACK BOX OF TECHNOLOGICAL RELATEDNESS VIA ANALYSIS OF INTER-FIRM R&D COOPERATIVE PROJECTS
J Blazek, D Marek, V Kveton (2016)
Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography 1301
The aim of this article is twofold. First, on the basis of a review of recent literature on related variety, it shows that there are not only differences between ex-ante and ex-post conceptualisations of relatedness, but also several striking methodological differences within this research stream. Therefore, it is argued, the growing number of studies on relatedness using different conceptualisations and methodologies can result in a “hollowing-out” of the original explanatory power of the concept. Second, this paper aims to open the black box of relatedness among industries by exploring one of the main channels through which the effects of relatedness can operate by simultaneous application of both ex-ante and ex-post approaches to measuring relatedness. In particular, joint R&D projects among companies represent a vigorous mechanism of knowledge exchange and mutual learning, but, as of yet, these studies have not been systematically linked to the concept of related variety. Our results prove that R&D collaboration according to technological distance is indeed far from random, but, contrary to our expectation, the results show that R&D collaboration occurs most frequently among unrelated companies. Thus, the search for partners in R&D projects seems to be driven by the novelty of knowledge rather than by probabilities of its comprehension. Conceptually, these findings suggest that in reality there might be various processes that require vastly different level of relatedness. This could lead to important policy implications as overreliance upon support for related industries might be misleading.
THE ANATOMY OF DIFFERENCE: COMPREHENDING THE EVOLUTIONARY DYNAMICS OF ECONOMIC AND SPATIAL STRUCTURE IN THE AUSTRIAN AND CZECH ECONOMIES
J Novotny, J Blazek, V Kveton (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.
TRANSPORT SUPPLY AND DEMAND CHANGES IN RELATION TO UNEMPLOYMENT: EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE FROM THE CZECH REPUBLIC IN A TIME OF CRISIS
M Marada, V Kveton (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.
INDUSTRIAL SPECIALIZATION AND ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE: A CASE OF CZECH MICROREGIONS
J Zenka, J Novotny, O Slach, V Kveton (2015)
Norsk Geografisk Tidsskrift-Norwegian Journal of Geography 69 (2), 67-79
An influential body of literature suggests that economic diversity rather than specialization fuels the economic performance of regions and nations. The authors argue that this hypothesis has no universal applicability and that a more differentiated view is needed. In particular, historical specificity of the local environment and structural characteristics of regional economies should be taken into account. They focus on the effects of industrial specialization on economic performance and the vulnerability of Central European post-communist regions, namely Czech microregions with less than 200,000 inhabitants. They examine whether the economic performance and vulnerability of these regions is fuelled rather by industrial specialization or diversity when controlling for other potential determinants of regional economic performance. Their findings show that the dependence of Czech regions on manufacturing correlates with higher economic performance but also with higher regional vulnerability. In addition, industrial specialization within manufacturing was found to be instrumental for the economic performance of regions with high dependence on manufacturing. With a decreasing share of employment in manufacturing, industrial diversity rather than specialization becomes more valuable for the economic performance of Czech regions.