Economic regionalism in federal and hybrid systems of government

Authored by: Pieter van Houten

Routledge Handbook of Regionalism and Federalism

Print publication date:  May  2013
Online publication date:  July  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415566216
eBook ISBN: 9780203395974
Adobe ISBN: 9781136727627


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Economic factors play an important role in the territorial politics of federal and regionalized states. This chapter focuses on one specific set of economic developments. 1 I use the term economic regionalism 2 to denote a process by which the economic importance of the sub-national regional level has increased in recent decades in the context of structural changes to capitalist economies. More specifically, it refers to ‘the emergence of new localized production systems of specialized industrial agglomerations, as part of a more general ‘resurgence’ of regions and cities as the loci of contemporary economic development and governance’ (Asheim et al., 2006: 1). These developments are sometimes referred to as ‘new regionalism’ (e.g. MacLeod, 2001). This term, however, is more usefully employed by Keating et al. (2003: 6) to describe the ‘rise of new territorial frameworks for action below the state, often linked into transnational networks’, with economic regionalism (as defined here) being one of the contexts in which these frameworks develop. In this chapter, I focus primarily on the political and institutional implications of this context for federal and hybrid systems of government.

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