Strukturwandel in der Wissensökonomie: Eine Analyse von Branchen-, Lage- und Regionseffekten in Deutschland

This Thuenen-Report discusses the results of an analysis of the structural change between industries in German districts. At the heart of the report is the question: “In how far is economic development structurally determined?” The theoretical outset is the new growth theory which implies that in the modern economy knowledge is the central differentiating production factor. A differentiation of variably mobile forms of knowledge makes it possible to develop theoretical expectations over industries’ distribution and development in urban and rural regions in the east and west of Germany. The empirical analysis leans mainly on a correspondingly differentiated shift-share regression within which the development of the number of firms and employees on district level can be broken down in industry- and region-effects. In a second step, the identified effects are further statistically examined in order to identify, among others, various non-linear industry effects. The analysis confirms the most important theoretically derived expectations: The economy of prospering rural areas is carried above all by the production sector, despite its own sinking employment share. The intangible knowledge that is crucial for its small and medium size firms is characterized by restricted mobility. Urban regions develop above all positively if they are attractive to knowledge-intensive businesses and highly qualified employees. Due to the differences in the mobility of relevant knowledge sources, an equalization between Germany’s west and east is more likely to take place in urban than in rural districts. Within the analysis, a change from a holistic perspective towards a focus on regional and economic details has helped to answer the initial question: Regional economic development is not totally structurally determined, but is made by firms, who, based on experience and innovation, generate competitive advantages. On the other hand, economic lags cannot simply be compensated through individual efforts because competitiveness pre-supposes experience and tacit knowledge concerning the particular technological regime. Development opportunities for structurally disadvantaged rural regions are in the exploitation of opportunities that stem from new markets and activities. The spatial implications of the digitalization and digital transformation of the economy remain ambiguous so far. If the necessary infrastructural and knowledge resources are successfully created all over the country and applied in innovative extension of existing capacities, new impulses could be generated by this technological “regime-change” for peripheral regions as well.

Other Titles:
Structural change in knowledge economy: an analysis of industry- and region effects in Germany
Issue Date:
Oct 15 2018
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JEL Codes:
O14; O18; R11
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 Record created 2018-10-15, last modified 2020-10-28

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