Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Papers in Innovation Studies,
Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy

No 2015/26: How does multi-scalar institutional change affect localized learning processes? A case study of the med-tech sector in Southern Sweden

Josephine V. Rekers () and Markus Grillitsch ()
Additional contact information
Josephine V. Rekers: Department of Human Geography & CIRCLE, Lund University
Markus Grillitsch: CIRCLE, Lund University

Abstract: Co-location alone is not sufficient to ensure efficient and effective interaction between economic agents. Also, institutions at multiple scales shape the behaviour of organizations and provide incentives for interaction. However, institutions as well as the impact of institutions on economic agents are not static, but rather change over time. In this paper we investigate this dynamic process: How does institutional change at different geographical scales affect localized learning processes? Using an intensive case study of the medical technology sector in Southern Sweden, we trace in detail how institutions at the supra-national, national and regional scale have changed over the past 15 years and how these have affected the opportunities for localized learning between firms and hospitals. Our case makes three contributions. First, it provides a detailed empirical example of the interdependencies between institutions at the supra-national, national and regional scales. Second, as institutions shape the behaviour of organizations, we demonstrate that institutional change introduced at the extra-regional scale can have profound consequences for the establishment of local innovation linkages – and thereby for the opportunities for localized learning. Third, this leads us to reconsider the ambitions of regional policies that aim to enhance localized learning.

Keywords: Institutions; institutional change; multi-scalar interdependencies; social capital; knowledge networks; innovation; regional development

JEL-codes: B52; D83; I18; L50; O30; O31; O33; O38

32 pages, August 10, 2015

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