Research

Ongoing projects

Where Does the Green Economy Grow? The Geography of Nordic Sustainability Transitions (Gonst) [2017-2020] 

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to greening the growth path of an economy as this depends on place-based policy and institutional settings, level of development, resource endowments and particular environmental pressure points. This research proposal addresses the place-based, context-dependent nature of the shift to green growth in the Nordic countries by asking the question: where does the green economy grow? In addressing this question, we foreground the importance of innovation, new industry formation, and radical industry transformation.

The project is based on a mixed methods approach. Quantitative techniques will be applied to analyse the importance of human capital and technological specialisation for the greening of the economy. Qualitative case studies of Nordic regions will focus on the role of institutions and account for the diversity in Nordic regional green pathways. An important element here will be to distinguish between those successful practices that can be transferred between regions, and those which are context dependent.

  • Funding: Nordic Green Growth Research and Innovation Programme € (see for more about the programme)
  • Partners: Lund University, Sweden (project lead); Aalborg University, Denmark; University of Tampere, Finland; NIFU, Norway; SINTEF, Norway
  • Six green growth projects approved for funding

Regional Growth Against all the Odds: The Driving Forces of Long-term Growth in Nordic Regions [2017-2020]

Today’s economy is driven by knowledge-intensive activities such as ICT and biotechnology, or knowledge-intensive business services such as finance and consulting. These activities are concentrated in the main urban areas like Stockholm, Oslo and Helsinki. Other regions in the (semi-)periphery or such that are specialised in traditional industries struggle in finding their place in the modern economy. 

This struggle is accompanied with a gloomy perspective for the job market. This concerns the quality and variety as well as the quantity of jobs that can be offered, and consequently implies that skilled labour increasingly moves to the main urban centres. These disparities between the centre and more peripheral regions challenge social and political structures.

The main urban areas, thus, offer the best structural preconditions for further growth in the modern economy. However, after taking the structural preconditions into account, a large share of regional growth differences remains unexplained: ‘Stubbornly high – and often growing – residuals in growth regressions have encouraged many scholars to look for additional factors that impinge on economic development and growth’ (Rodríguez-Pose 2013: 1036). This triggers the fundamental and overarching research question of this project: Why do some regions grow more (or less) than others with similar structural preconditions? We know surprisingly little about this essential question

The specific objectives of the project are: (a) To identify regions that in certain periods of time show exceptional high or low regional growth after considering structural preconditions; (b) To explain exceptional high or low growth in certain regions and time periods by focusing on the role of actors, networks, and institutions at multiple spatial scales (regional, national, global); and (c) To develop a context-sensitive model of regional economic growth that accounts explicitly for the regional heterogeneity and time dynamics

  • Funding: Länförsäkningar, Sweden
  • Partners: Lund University, Sweden; University of Tampere, Finland; University of Stavanger, Norway; BI Norwegian Business School, Norway



© Markku Sotarauta - est. 1998