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Community, society and adaptation: Assessing the institutional factors behind long-run growth in the local and regional economy.

Farole, Thomas (2009) Community, society and adaptation: Assessing the institutional factors behind long-run growth in the local and regional economy. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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The purpose of this thesis is to develop and test a framework on the role and dynamic interaction of group life (community) and societal rules (society) as one of the factors shaping patterns of economic growth and adaptation. Cross-country regression analysis is undertaken to determine the significance of the relationships between community and society (individually and jointly) and various institutional factors. Following this, two pairs of comparative city-region case studies explore how these dynamics play out in specific geographical and institutional contexts. The findings confirm the importance of the interaction between community and society in shaping individual incentives and territorial responses to change. In general, 'bridging' forms of community and strong societal rules facilitate positive outcomes, whilst 'bonding' forms of community have broadly negative impacts on growth and adaptation. Critically, the significance and impact of community appears to be dependent on the societal environment in which it operates. Community matters most when society is weakest, but community is not simply a substitute for rules; indeed community and society appear to potentiate positive outcomes in important cases, for example near the technology frontier. Diversity - of sectors, groups, and institutions - appears to be particularly important in facilitating positive forms of community and society interaction, and in promoting adaptive economies. Overall, there is strong recursivity in the relationships, suggesting path dependency (lock-in or evolution) may be the norm. The study contributes to understanding the 'black box' of institutions, particularly within the context of regional economies, and underlines the importance of the role of community- level forces and political economy in processes of economic growth and adjustment. It suggests there is value in pursuing the role of institutions still further, and exploring in more detail the agenda of an evolutionary economic geography.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Geography, Sociology, Social Structure and Development
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
Departments > Geography and Environment

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