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Title: The role of institutions for the path dependent development of the wind energy industry in Germany and Britain
Author: Chlebna, Camilla M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7230 6834
Awarding Body: Oxford Brookes University
Current Institution: Oxford Brookes University
Date of Award: 2017
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The key argument of this thesis is that institutional settings have a crucial impact on path dependent economic development. It is also argued that both formal and informal institutions play an important role. The contribution to knowledge lies in the unique combination of a path dependency perspective with an institutional focus and the proposition of two frameworks to examine the relationships between the concepts. It is evidence for the valuable contribution that strongly qualitative approaches in studies in evolutionary economic geography can make. A multi-level perspective is applied in two frameworks. Three key levels are examined: The civil society, where transitional new pathways originate, the path dependent industrial landscape which new technological pathways seek to reach, and the institutions which need to support these new technological pathways so they can develop. It is argued through the conceptual framework that the institutional arrangements act as a filter on agents’ perceptions and that therefore different institutional constellations in different regions or countries are one important cause of divergent economic development. The analysis framework proposes a role for both informal and formal institutional arrangements, where informal institutions have an important impact on whether and how the formal institutional arrangements are co-evolved by agents because of their immediate effect on their perceptions and behaviour. These frameworks were tested by applying them to the case of the path dependent development of the wind energy industry in Germany and Britain. 32 semi-structured interviews with industry experts followed a pilot study of four interviews with academics. A good spread across the two countries and across perspectives was achieved. It was found that in Germany the strength of the anti-nuclear sentiment in combination with the federal structure allowed for new ideas about energy generation to get a foothold amongst policymakers. In contrast the relatively closed, hierarchical formal institutional structure in Britain in combination with a lack of a comparable strength of sentiment amongst society in general hindered similar institutional co-evolution and institutional hysteresis continued.
Supervisor: Simmie, James ; Valler, Dave ; Brownill, Sue Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral