Creating New Pathways in Peripheral Regional Economies: The Offshore Wind and Printable Electronics Industries in the North East of England

Ben Fisher

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis


This thesis contributes to the emerging body of work on evolutionary economic geography focused upon understanding how new growth paths emerge. Path creation is conceptualised as a latent element within a more open and dynamic understanding of path dependency. The approach moves beyond firm-centric accounts by identifying and explaining the multi-faceted nature and interplay of multi-scalar social and institutional agents, factors and conditions that shape mechanisms of path creation. This conceptual framework is utilised to compare, contrast and explain the processes underpinning the heterogeneous path creation and development of the offshore wind and printable electronics industries in the North East region of England. The empirical analysis illustrates the varied forms and interconnectivity of path creation mechanisms that shaped, and were shaped by, progressive phases of multi-scalar socio-institutional agents, contexts and policy interventions. Evolving from an episode characterised by the mindful deviation of entrepreneurs in firm and non-firm organisations, the printable electronics and offshore wind paths entered a period of rapid development stimulated by a decade of national state-led enabling frameworks, resources and contextual regional policy intervention. The momentum in the offshore wind path evolved to a point that demonstrated elements of path dependency and ongoing adaptation. Whereas radical shifts amongst multi-scalar state institutions removed the strategic niche environment incubating the printable electronics path, creating a policy vacuum leading to regression of the developing pathway. The path creation framework developed here demonstrates the importance and influence of multi-scalar actors, institutional contexts and contextual policy prescriptions in supporting and framing the tensions between enabling and constraining environments that shape path creation in episodic and temporary ways.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Newcastle University
  • Pike, Andy , Supervisor, External person
  • Dawley , Stuart , Supervisor, External person
Award date1 Jan 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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