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ECONOMIC GEOGRAPHY ISSUE: Vol. 95 No. 4 August 2019




Design of new Economic Geography JournalEconomic Geography is an internationally peer-reviewed journal, committed to publishing cutting-edge research that makes theoretical advances to the discipline. Our long-standing specialization is to publish the best theoretically-based empirical articles that deepen the understanding of significant economic geography issues around the world. Owned by Clark University since 1925, Economic Geography actively supports scholarly activities of economic geographers. Economic Geography is published five times annually in January, March, June, August, and November.





Journal Articl



The Downside of Social Capital in New Industry Creation

Mathijs de Vaan, Koen Frenken, and Ron Boschma, Pages 315-340
Abstract |Complete Article | Enhanced Article


Scaling of Atypical Knowledge Combinations in American Metropolitan Areas from 1836 to 2010

Lars Mewes, Pages 341–361
Abstract | Complete Article | Enhanced Article


Accounting for Sustainability in Asia: Stock Market Regulation and Reporting in Hong Kong and Singapore

Felicia H. M. Liu, David Demeritt, and Samuel Tang, Pages 362–384
Abstract |Complete Article | Enhanced Article


Innovation in Creative Industries: Does (Related) Variety Matter for the Creativity of Urban Music Scenes?

Benjamin Klement and Simone Strambach, Pages 385–417
Abstract | Complete Article | Enhanced Article










Handbook on the Geographies of Regions and Territories
By Anssi Paasi, John Harrison, and Martin Jones
Paul Benneworth, pages 418–420
Read Book Review

Geographies of Disruption: Place Making for Innovation in the Age of Knowledge Economy By Tan Yigitcanlar and Tommi Inkinen
Stanley D. Brunn, pages 421–422
Read Book Review














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The Downside of Social Capital in New Industry Creation

Mathijs de Vaan, Koen Frenken, and Ron Boschma

Abstract: In this article we develop and test the hypothesis that social capital, defined as a regional characteristic, discourages entrepreneurship in a new and contested industry. The argument follows the logic that high levels of social capital reinforce conformity in values and ideas, and inhibit deviant entrepreneurial activity. Once an industry becomes more legitimized—as a result of an increase in the number of firms present in a region—social capital becomes less restrictive on entrepreneurship and can even have a positive effect on the subsequent number of firms founded in a region. We find evidence for our thesis using data on 1,684 firm entries in the US video game industry for the period 1972–2007.

Key words: social capital, new industry, entrepreneurship, contested industry, controversy, legitimation, video game industry

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Scaling of Atypical Knowledge Combinations in American Metropolitan Areas from 1836 to 2010

Lars Mewes


Abstract: Cities are epicenters for invention. Scaling analyses have verified the productivity of cities and demonstrate a superlinear relationship between cities’ population size and invention performance. However, little is known about what kinds of inventions correlate with city size. Is the productivity of cities only limited to invention quantity? I shift the focus on the quality of idea creation by investigating how cities influence the art of knowledge combinations. Atypical combinations introduce novel and unexpected linkages between knowledge domains. They express creativity in inventions and are particularly important for technological breakthroughs. My study of 174 years of invention history in metropolitan areas in the US reveals a superlinear scaling of atypical combinations with population size. The observed scaling grows over time indicating a geographic shift toward cities since the early twentieth century. The productivity of large cities is thus not only restricted to quantity but also includes quality in invention processes.

Key words: cities, invention, historic patent data, scaling analysis, atypical knowledge combinations



Complete Article


Accounting for Sustainability in Asia: Stock Market Regulation and Reporting in Hong Kong and Singapore


Felicia H. M. Liu, David Demeritt, and Samuel Tang

Abstract: Sustainability reporting nudges firms into behaving more sustainably by forcing them to account publicly for their wider social and environmental performance. This libertarian paternalist approach to governance through disclosure rather than command-and-control regulation is well established in Anglo-Saxon jurisdictions but comparatively untested in the emerging markets of Asia, where different state traditions and forms of business organization raise questions about its transferability and effectiveness. This article contributes to research on corporate social responsibility, neoliberal environmental governance, and Asian varieties of capitalism by providing the first comparative analysis of the origins, design, and initial impact of new sustainability reporting requirements on the stock markets of Hong Kong and Singapore. In mandating sustainability reporting, both exchanges were similarly concerned with following international norms and competitors but differed in the style and granularity of their company disclosure requirements. These policy design choices reflected different developmental state traditions and the different audiences that market regulators in Hong Kong and Singapore sought to influence through these public accounts. Notwithstanding substantial differences between Hong Kong’s rules-based and Singapore’s principles-based approach to reporting, the response in both markets was remarkably similar. In both cases, sustainability reporting was largely ignored by local market players who dismissed it as a foreign practice of interest to only a small number of Western institutional investors and providing little incentive to go beyond tick box compliance. These findings raise questions about the effectiveness of disclosure requirements at nudging Asian businesses toward sustainability.

Key words: corporate sustainability reporting, Asian capitalism, developmental state, environmental regulation, nudge
JEL codes: D22, G14, G38, M48

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Innovation in Creative Industries: Does (Related) Variety Matter for the Creativity of Urban Music Scenes?

Benjamin Klement and Simone Strambach

Abstract: This article investigates the relation between different forms of (related) variety found in urban music scenes and innovation in music. While related variety has been found to be positively associated with several indicators of regional economic development and technological innovation, it remains unclear whether its merits also benefit innovation in creative industries. As innovation in creative industries is based on symbolic knowledge, the degree of variety in local contexts may affect the creativity of artists differently than the innovativeness of engineers and scientists. To test whether specialization, unrelated variety, or (semi)related variety is linked to innovation in creative industries, this contribution applies the concept of related variety to the context of urban music scenes. As innovation in creative industries is hidden from traditional innovation data, we utilize volunteered, geographic, and user-generated information from the social music platform From relatedness measures between music genres, we generate our own classification system of music, which is used to calculate different related variety metrics of music scenes. Furthermore, our database allows for the identification of innovation in music as the emergence and combination of music genres. The results of this article suggest that semirelated variety promotes innovation in music, while related variety is only positively associated with combinatorial knowledge dynamics. Additionally, specialization limits innovation in music scenes. Hence, policy concerned with creative industries needs to analyze not only aggregate data but also the composition of regional symbolic knowledge bases.

Key words: symbolic knowledge, related variety, innovation, music, creative industry

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November 2019


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Precarious Lives: Job Insecurity and Well-Being in Rich Democracies, By Arne L. Kalleberg

Stelios Gialis



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