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Smart specialisation and institutional context: What does it mean for path development?

Maximilian Benner

PEGIS from Institute for Economic Geography and GIScience, Department of Socioeconomics, Vienna University of Economics and Business

Abstract: The smart specialization approach is the currently dominant concept of industrial and regional policy in the European Union. During its implementation in recent years, the approach generated a wide range of policy experimentation on how to develop smart specialization strategies (RIS3), and how to do so in a participatory public-private dialogue commonly called entrepreneurial discovery process (EDP). Building on theories known from institutional economic geography, this paper argues that the smart specialization exercise is inextricably linked with the institutional context of regional (or national) economies, and that both the RIS3 developed and the preceding EDP have the potential to affect the institutional context. By doing so, drafting and implementing a RIS3 conditions different forms of evolutionary dynamics in a regional economy. The article presents some conceptual thoughts for the relationship between institutions, evolution, and path development within the context of smart specialization, and suggests areas for further research in view of post-2020 cohesion policy.

Keywords: regional development; EU cohesion policy; smart specialization; evolutionary economic geography; institutions (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: B52 O43 R11 R12 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 20 pages
Date: 2019
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