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Rethinking Regional Path Dependence: Beyond Lock-in to Evolution

By Ron Martin

Abstract

This paper argues that in its 'canonical' form, the path dependence model, with its core concept of 'lock-in, affords a very restrictive and narrowly applicable account of regional and local industrial evolution, an account moreover that is tied to problematic underpinnings based on equilibrist thinking. As such the canonical path dependence model actually stresses continuity rather than change. The paper goes on to explore recent developments in historical sociology and political science, where there are active attempts to rethink the application of path dependence to the evolution of institutions so as to emphasise change rather than continuity. These developments are used to argue for a rethinking of path dependence ideas in economic geography.path dependence, lock-in, equilibrium evolution, layering, conversion, adaptation

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