Public policies – national and regional clusters: between path dependency/inertia and structural change

Theme N°: 

The state is again back in the heart of the restructuring of the world automobile industry. Together with their pro-active role in the rise of the BRICS, the home states of the automobile producers of the Triade have elaborated public policies at various levels (local, national, international) to support the survival of their automobile sectors throughout the crisis and upgrade the place of their industries in the global value chains.

These policies include a rethinking of the concept of industrial policy going further from a mere financing of R&D to encourage a new innovation policy through the construction of competitiveness clusters with inter-sectoral interactions to systematically generate innovations. Such policies, that were most necessary, were accompanied with an increase of regulatory policies for safety, reduction of emissions and fuel economy. A subsequent convergence in more stringent regulations might lead to compatible standards as the new generation of trade agreements (Transatlantic, Transpacific Agreements, etc) clearly conceive for some of them the end of different regulations as one of the net gains beyond tariff-reduction. Therefore, we need to know more about how public regulations and trade agreements are elaborated, and in which way they might be affecting the technological choices made by actors of the industry and its impact in terms of regional development, jobs, and economic gains and losses in local, regional and national economies.

We also need to know more about the various Nation States’ interests and policies. Not all countries have the same interests in adopting common rules, regulations and standards. Some countries are resisting the trend of some trade agreements’ clauses such as the right given to multinational firms to sue governments when they think a new regulation is damaging their interests. Public policy in support of a country’s automobile industry is getting more difficult to conceive and implement due to this nexus of complex and possibly contradictory constraints.

We also seek papers that focus on the policies that regulate emissions and fuel economy. What is their impact on technological change? How are they negotiated (by whom and in which arena), implemented (timeframes and degree of reversibility) and applied (tests and controls)?

One or more sessions of the colloquium will be dedicated to the issue of the regionalization of the Asian automotive industries and markets, which is also the subject of a forthcoming special issue of IJATM. In order to allow comparative discussion, authors are invited to submit their proposals under this theme, even though they deal with issues that might also fit other themes, and to mention in their abstracts "IJATM special issue on the regionalisation of the Asian automotive industries and markets."

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