Ron Martin, Peter Sunley
Writing at the beginning of the twentieth century, eminent economist Alfred Marshall considered a number of metaphors that could be used to represent and study changes to economic activity over time. One of these was a mechanistic metaphor of an equilibrium, while another was a biological metaphor of an organism’s evolution. The modern discipline of economics chose the former and soon discarded evolutionary and biological considerations. Over time however, the problems of this equilibrium approach have become increasingly apparent, specifically in economic geography where it fails to explain how places change and evolve through time.
This textbook, written by two of the leading authorities in the field, explains why there has been a turn towards evolutionary thinking in economic geography and how it changes the questions we ask about, and the ways we explain, the economic roles of space, location and place. The authors examine recent efforts that have focused on developing an alternative vision of economic change based on notions of evolution, disequilibrium and complex unpredictable systems. Traditionally, the dominant view of the geographical economic landscape was as a self-regulating and self-correcting equilibrium phenomenon. Evolutionary economic geography, however, offers a paradigm for understanding spatially uneven growth and decline based on evolutionary foundations. The book is an ideal introduction for students to the theories and practice of this growing and increasingly influential field.
Ron Martin is Professor of Economic Geography at the University of Cambridge and a Professorial Fellow at St Catharine's College, Cambridge. He is President of the Regional Studies Association and a Fellow of the British Academy.
Peter Sunley is Professor of Economic Geography at the University of Southampton. His books include The Sage Handbook of Economic Geography (coeditor) and Economic Geography: Critical Concepts in the Social Sciences (coeditor with Ron Martin).