This paper claims that in the field of economic geography, research questions about how new industries emerge and the degree to which their emergence are anchored in regional economies are less commonly studied than concepts of for example localisation economies and clusters. Consequently, there is little knowledge regarding where new industries emerge and why new industries emerge where they do. Therefore there is a need to establish a more rigorous research agenda that will elucidate some of the more fundamental elements that contribute to the creation of new industries. It is the objective of this paper to contribute to the recently emerged evolutionary thinking in economic geography (Boschma, Martin 2007, Boschma, Frenken 2006, Grabher 2009) with a conceptual clarification of industry emergence. The paper first reviews the definition of emerging industries as it appears in the field of industrial organisational economics (Porter 1980) and in evolutionary economics (Dosi 1984, Nelson, Winter 1982). Second, the paper discusses the particularity that characterizes the temporal scope of industry emergence and it is claimed that the literature often lack attention to periods that precede the conventional industry life cycle (Forbes, Kirsch 2010). Third, the paper reviews the most commonly used approaches to industry emergence and industry evolution in economic geography and concludes that studies in economic geography are subject to the same lack of attention towards industry emergence. Finally, the paper draws on the recent conceptual framework of ‘regional branching’ that is able to capture the emergence of new industries in their geographical context. Regional branching builds on the evolutionary understanding of industry development and modifies previous understanding of industry emergence, which has characterized the field of economic geography. In particular, the framework builds on a critique of the predominant role previous theories have ascribed to chance events.
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15th International Schumpeter Society Conference (ISS), 2014