Agency in green regional path development: systematic evidence from the Nordic regions

Anne Nygaard Tanner, Eun Kyung Park, Christian Richter Østergaard

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In light of the current climate crisis and pressure on depleted resources, green industrial development is a necessity to improve the sustainability of the environment. Although we have seen a significant increase in the literature dealing with green regional path development, there is still a substantial research gap when it comes to understanding who and what drives different types of the green technological development at the regional level. This article adopts an agency-oriented approach and contributes to the literature by (1) providing a systematic empirical analysis of green regional path development, (2) showing the heterogeneity of green regional path development and (3) the linkages to pre-existing knowledge bases and external knowledge sources, and (4) analyzing the type of inventive actors involved in green regional path development. We use a unique, comprehensive database on green inventors and patent applicants in the Nordic countries. We combine quantitative and qualitative measures to validate an elaborated typology of green regional path development focusing on green path extension, path renewal, path diversification and path creation. Findings reveal that green inventive activity is spatially concentrated in few regions across the Nordic countries characterized by multiple types of path development processes. We find that the majority of green technological development are driven by incumbent firms involved in path extension, renewal and diversification processes, whereas new entrants, although they account for less green inventive activity are mainly involved in path creation processes entailing the largest degree of structural change.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2021
Number of pages42
Publication statusPublished - 2021
EventDRUID21: Copenhagen - Copenhagen Business School, Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: 18 Oct 202120 Oct 2021


LocationCopenhagen Business School
Internet address


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