Universität Wien FIND

290041 SE Seminar in Human Geography: (2022S)

Institutional Economic Geography: Practical Perspectives and the Case of Eastern Europe

4.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 29 - Geographie
Continuous assessment of course work


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


max. 20 participants
Language: German


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

The course follow a “blended learning” format with on-site and online classes. Online classes will notably include guest lectures held by international guest lecturers. If needed in light of the COVID19 situation, the course may completely switch to an online format.

The online slot on 27.05.2022 is reserved for the exam.

Friday 18.03. 09:45 - 13:45 Digital
Friday 25.03. 09:45 - 13:45 Digital
Friday 01.04. 09:45 - 13:45 Digital
Friday 29.04. 09:45 - 13:45 Digital
Friday 06.05. 09:45 - 13:45 Digital
Friday 13.05. 09:45 - 13:45 Digital
Friday 27.05. 09:45 - 10:45 Digital


Aims, contents and method of the course

Regional development processes take place within a social context constituted by a variety of institutions. To grasp the importance of different institutions for economic processes such as growth, innovation, or entrepreneurship, institutional economic geography emerged as a prominent paradigm. However, many questions in translating institutional theories into strategies of regional development remain open.
Particularly in Eastern European economies that have experienced a far-reaching move from a planned economy towards a market economy and that are now embedded in supranational integration processes such as EU membership or alignment, institutional context plays a significant role in defining opportunities for regional development.
The course familiarizes students with some of the most relevant institutional approaches on the basis of the literature, introduces the political and economic context of selected Eastern European economies, and invites students to analyze and discuss political strategies for regional development in terms of their appropriateness for the institutional context of these Eastern European economies.
The course follow a “blended learning” format with on-site and online classes. Online classes will notably include guest lectures held by international guest lecturers. If needed in light of the COVID19 situation, the course may completely switch to an online format.
Guest lectures will be tentatively given, inter alia, by representatives of Austrian businesses and Interreg projects in Eastern European countries.

Assessment and permitted materials

Students will be required to take an online “open book” exam (60%). Presentations of the preparatory literature will be graded (20%), as will be students' participation in discussions and methodological exercises (20%). The exam will take one hour and students will be expected to concisely answer a given question. Literature can be used but needs to be referenced. During the course, the lecturer will explain the format and the requirements of the exam and introduce students into elementary principles of the scientific method. To pass the course, students will be required to submit at least one contribution to each of the three assessment components.

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

Minimum requirements for participation include an interest in economic geography. A significant part of literature used is available in English language only. The course will be held in German. The exam can be written in German or English. Some guest lectures may be held in English.
Participants are required to be present during at least two thirds of the classes.

Examination topics

Students' performance in the exam, presentations, and discussions in class will be assessed in terms of critical reflection and application of lessons learned according to scientific standards. These lessons learned include notably theory on economic geography and other social sciences, empirical methods, academic writing and critical analysis of questions related to economic geography. The lecturer will be available to answer students’ methodological questions.

Reading list

The following literature list provides sources relevant for the exam to familiarize students with the primary conceptual foundations of the course. Detailed reading assignments will be distributed among students after registration.

Bathelt, H., Glückler, J. (2014). Institutional change in economic geography. Progress in Human Geography, 38, 340-363.

Benner, M. (2019). Smart specialization and institutional context: the role of institutional discovery, change and leapfrogging. European Planning Studies, 27, 1791-1810.

Benner, M. (2021). Retheorizing industrial–institutional coevolution: a multidimensional perspective, Regional Studies, DOI: 10.1080/00343404.2021.1949441

Benner, M. (2022). A tale of sky and desert: Translation and imaginaries in transnational windows of institutional opportunity. Geoforum 128, 181-191.

Blažek, J., Květoň, V. (2021). From coal-mining to data-mining: the role of leadership in the emergence of a regional innovation system in an old industrial region. In Sotarauta, M., Beer, A. (Eds.), Handbook on city and regional leadership. Cheltenham, Northampton: Elgar, 168-186.

Estrin, S., Mickiewicz, T. (2011). Entrepreneurship in transition economies: the role of institutions and generational change. In Minniti, M. (Ed.), The dynamics of entrepreneurship: evidence from Global Entrepreneurship Monitor data. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 181-208.

Gertler, M.S. (2010). Rules of the game: the place of institutions in regional economic change. Regional Studies, 44, 1-15.

Glückler, J., Eckhardt, Y. (2021). Illicit innovation and institutional folding: from purity to naturalness in the Bavarian brewing industry. Journal of Economic Geography, DOI: 10.1093/jeg/lbab026.

Glückler, J., Punstein, A.M., Wuttke, C., Kirchner, P. (2020). The “hourglass” model: an institutional morphology of rural industrialism in Baden-Württemberg. European Planning Studies, 28, 1554-1574.

Hall, T.W., Elliott, J.E. (1999). Poland and Russia one decade after shock therapy. Journal of Economic Issues, 2, 305-314.

Langbein, J., Wolczuk, K. (2012). Convergence without membership? The impact of the European Union in the neighbourhood: evidence from Ukraine. Journal of European Public Policy, 19, 863-881.

Lehmann, T., Gronau, W. (2019). Tourism development in transition economies of the Western Balkans – addressing the seeming oxymoron of institutional voids and tourism growth. Zeitschrift für Tourismuswirtschaft, 11, 45-64.

Matusiak, M., Kleibrink, A. (Eds.) (2018). Supporting an innovation agenda for the Western Balkans: tools and methodologies. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the EU.

OECD (2018). Competitiveness and private sector development competitiveness in South East Europe: a policy outlook 2018. Paris: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Rodríguez-Pose, A. (2020). Institutions and the fortunes of regions. Regional Science Policy & Practice, 12, 371-386

Trippl, M., Zukauskaite, E., Healy, A. (2020). Shaping smart specialisation: the role of place-specific factors in advanced, intermediate and less-developed European regions. Regional Studies, 54, 1328-1340.

Williams, C.C., Horodnic, I.A. (2015). Evaluating the prevalence of the undeclared economy in Central and Eastern Europe: an institutional asymmetry perspective. European Journal of Industrial Relations, 21, 389-406.

Williams, N., Radevic, D., Gherhes, C., Vorley, T. (2017). The nature of corruption affecting entrepreneurship in transition economies: some lessons from Montenegro. South East European Journal of Economics and Business, 12, 20-34.

Williams, N., Vorley, T. (2015). Institutional asymmetry: how formal and informal institutions affect entrepreneurship in Bulgaria. International Small Business Journal, 33, 840-861.

Association in the course directory

(MG-S3-SE) (MG-S5-SE) (MG-W3-PI) (MG-W4-PI) (MR3-PI) (MR6) (MA UF GW 02)

Last modified: Mo 02.05.2022 10:51