Thursday, 22 October 2020 13:01

New Issue (Special Issue 48) of Investigaciones Regionales - Journal of Regional Research

Summary of Volume 48 Investigaciones Regionales -  Journal of Regional Research

Volume 48 of the journal Investigaciones Regionales – Journal of Regional Research is dedicated to the study of Territorial Servitization. This special volume has been edited by Ferran Vendrell-Herrero (University of Birmingham), Esteban Lafuente (Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya) and Yancy Vaillant (TBS Business School). The three coordinators of the volume open it with an Editorial in which, in addition to introduce the published works, they summarize the body of existing knowledge on territorial servitization, quantify and map the servitization activity in the Spanish autonomous communities, and raise a number of issues still unresolved that deserve more academic attention

In this special issue, Araya, Horváth & Leiva provide more nuances on the antecedents of KIBS formation. They evaluate the catalytic power of manufacturing industry to promote change in the rate of business service firms, which constitutes a relevant antecedent to territorial servitization. More specifically, their study analyses the impact of quantitative characteristics (size and relative weight) of the manufacturing sector, while acknowledging the potentially moderating role of local competitive conditions that may explain the different dynamics in the rate of business service firms across territories. After employing panel-data models on a sample of 81 Costa Rican counties during 2010-2016, the findings are twofold. First, they demonstrate that structural change towards increased specialization in business services only takes place in counties with a large manufacturing base (a critical mass), while the relative weight of the industry within the local economy does not have an impact. Second, results indicate a substitution effect among the size of the manufacturing industry and local competitiveness: a competitive local environment can compensate the lack of a large manufacturing base, whereas a larger manufacturing base even in a low-competitive region can potentially contribute to increasing rates of business service firms.

A second contribution on the same domain is the article of Zubiaurre-Goena and Sisti. It uses a rich panel database covering the seventeen Spanish regions for the period 2000-2016 formed by merging secondary data from multiple sources (Spanish Statistical Office (INE), Eurostat, and BvD). Interestingly, the study recognizes KIBS heterogeneity by differentiating into three types: technical KIBS (T-KIBS), computer-related services (C-KIBS), and “traditional” professional services (P-KIBS). The results of the study suggest that KIBS antecedents depend on the type of KIBS analysed. Regions with stronger innovation systems are more likely to generate P-KIBS and T-KIBS, whereas regions with more manufacturing quality are more likely to generate C-KIBS.

Opazo-Basáez, Narvaiza-Cantín & Campos follow a qualitative approach to evaluate the importance of geographical proximity in the manufacturing-KIBS collaboration. They used two case studies in the Basque Country. In both cases, the manufacturing company is in the Basque Country. However, they collaborate with KIBS firms from different geographical areas, “inside” and “outside” the Basque region. Their evidence proposes that geographical distance plays a key role on the KIBS-Manufacturer relationship for servitization capacity, the greater the geographical proximity the better.

Seclen-Luna and Moya-Fernandez seek to evaluate to what extent the proximity to KIBS firms is beneficial to manufacturing firms’ capacity to innovate. Drawing on the World Bank Enterprise Survey (WBES) for eleven Latin-American countries, they analysed 3,029 manufacturing firms, with the purpose to uncover the relationship between KIBS co-locations and the innovativeness of the manufacturing firms. Findings indicated that manufacturing firms’ locations based on KIBS proximity, is a critical determinant of product innovation, which could facilitate the adoption of servitization strategies and introduce value-adding services into their operations.

Finally, Marino and Trapasso address a fundamental question: whether industrial policy is best designed based on the development of a knowledge intensive service economy having the same focus for all regions (one size fits it all) or if there are certain intrinsic characteristics that make it necessary for regions to customize their industrial policy. To respond this question, advanced and peripheral regions are considered (Wyrwich, 2019). The study analyses Italian regions for the period 2009 to 2014. It is found that the accumulation of capital and the ability to develop the service economy are main drivers of regional competitiveness. This means that peripheral regions with fewer resources (capital) and capacities (services) must redirect their efforts in achieving the necessary pre-conditions of territorial servitization. In other words, there are sufficient and necessary conditions to be able to develop territorial economic systems with a strength in knowledge-based services. In the case of not having said conditions, policy makers should first prioritize the construction of the said conditions.

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The Regional Science Association International (RSAI), founded in 1954, is an international community of scholars interested in the regional impacts of national or global processes of economic and social change.

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