The director of CIRCLE, Ron Boschma, will receive an Honorary Doctorate from Marburg University (Germany) on July 4, 2013. He is receiving this award because of his exemplary contributions to the emerging field of Evolutionary Economic Geography.
Ron’s distinguished research work has focused on developing the field of Evolutionary Economic Geography (EEG) both theoretically and empirically. EEG depicts the evolution of the uneven distribution of economic activity across space as the outcome of largely contingent, path dependent processes. More in particular, it explains the spatial evolution of firms, industries, networks, cities and regions from elementary processes of entry, exit, growth and decline of firms. Taking a historical perspective, behaviour of agents or changes in spatial structures are conditioned, but not determined by structures on the micro level (like routines of organizations) and the macro level (institutions, networks, geographical structures), making economic evolution both a path- and place-dependent process at the same time.
Ron has been very active in applying the theoretical foundations of EEG empirically to many topics in economic geography. An actor-approach has often been applied, with an emphasis on firm dynamics (or more generally, organizational dynamics). Reasoning from the micro-level of the firm, evolutionary reasoning has been applied on the meso-level by (1) aggregating firms in sectors, focusing on the location, competition and industrial dynamics of entry and exit; (2) by aggregating firms in networks, focusing their interactive and collaborative relationships and the structure and evolution of spatial networks; and (3) by aggregating firms in regions, focusing on the role of geographical proximity in economic processes and the self-producing nature of clusters. Finally, the levels of industries, networks and regions can be aggregated at the macro-level of the spatial system, in which cities and regions converge or diverge depending on the evolution of their industrial structure and their positions in spatial networks.