On Saturday, 16 November, MBS Professor Dr. habil. Florian Bartholomae presented his research findings at the 66th Annual North American Meeting of the Regional Science Association International in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (November 13-16, 2019). NARSC is the largest and most important international conference in the field of regional science, at which international experts from renowned institutions present their latest research findings every year.
Prof. Bartholomae presented the paper “Two Shades of Urban Shrinkage: Innovation and Economic Structure in Cities with Declining Population”, a joint research project with Prof. (FH) Dr. Schoenberg from the IMC Krems. The paper examines the impact of innovation activities and different economic structures on preventing the economic downturn in demographically shrinking German cities. In a previous study, the authors, together with Prof. Dr. Nam from the ifo Institute, showed that there is no parallelism between demographic and real economic development in cities, i.e. demographically shrinking cities can also grow economically – in other words, there is a difference between ‘shrinking cities’ (demographically and economically shrinking) and ‘smartly growing cities’ (demographically shrinking and economically growing). Based on a probit estimation model, it was investigated by which factors these two groups differ. The study shows that ‘smartly growing cities’ have a higher share of modern business services in the real value added and that they also have higher business dynamics and innovation orientation. These results are relevant insofar as, in Germany, federal funding for urban policy focuses mainly on regenerating city centers and residential areas in order to improve the living conditions of the inhabitants. Based on the analysis, however, it would be much more effective to improve the economic infrastructure in order to promote entrepreneurship and the innovation activities of existing companies.
The results were discussed with great approval and interest. This research is part of the research project “Shrinking Cities” and is assigned to the MBS research field “International Business”. The aim is to identify and analyze location factors that are essential for regions and companies to survive in international competition. Especially for small and medium-sized firms with local and regional roots, it is important how cities and regions develop and deal with problems, as this can make a decisive contribution to their success.