Geographical evolutionary political economy: linking local evolution with uneven and combined development

Jürgen Essletzbichler, Manuel Scholz-Wäckerle, Lena Gerdes, Christian Dorninger, Hans-Peter Wieland

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


This contribution argues that evolutionary economic geography needs to widen its conceptual apparatus in order to engage with the grand challenges of our times. Instead of understanding evolution as a gradual, path-dependent and geographically localized process, the current challenges result from various global political-economic transformations requiring an understanding of evolution as a outcome of variational and transformational change, the incorporation of macro-scale analysis, the augmentation of territorial with relational conceptualizations of space and a focus on historical analysis of political-economic development rather than ahistorical descriptions of regional outcomes of a generalized evolutionary process. We illustrate the potential impact of globalization on the competitive advantage of US metropolitan areas through an analysis of relations of unequal exchange between the USA and the Global South. The estimated value drain constitutes a potential source of revenue for producers in the North that complements the competitive advantages of cities based on superior localized technological performance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)543-560
JournalCambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society
Issue number3
Early online date20 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • evolutionary economic geography
  • geographical political economy
  • macrogeography
  • transformational change
  • unequal exchange
  • uneven and combined development

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