The New EU Industrial Policy and Deepening Structural Asymmetries: Smart Specialisation not so Smart
SourceJournal of Common Market Studies, 61, 1, (2023), pp. 20-37
19 juni 2022
Article / Letter to editor
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Journal of Common Market Studies
SubjectInstitute for Management Research
In response to the 2008financial crisis and rising competitive pressures from emerging markets,EU industrial policy has made a major comeback. One of theflagship policies is Smart Speciali-sation, which is located at the intersection of industrial and cohesion policy, and which serves thetwin purpose of catalysing the transition of manufacturing sectors to innovative Industry 4.0-typetechnologies, as well as inducing social and territorial cohesion and upward economic conver-gence. Employing a critical political economy perspective that accounts for the interplay betweenstate regulation and capitalism’s general dynamic of uneven and combined development, the arti-cle argues that Smart Specialisation is unlikely to lead to the proclaimed and much-needed eco-nomic intra-EU convergence. Although individual Smart Specialisation projects undoubtedlycan lead to a technological upgrading, narrowing the gap between advanced high-tech regionsand rapidly de-industrializing regions, or regions locked into labour-intensive, low value-addedand less knowledge-intensive production, remains a pipedream.
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