The past plays a crucial role in understanding, developing and implementing regional economic development policies. History reveals path dependencies in regions’ economies and informs about the successes and failures of policy instruments. As part of the 50th anniversary celebration of the Regional Studies Association, the RSA Research Network on Regional Economic and Policy History (ReHi) has been funded for the period 2017-2019. The network is founded by CPS jointly with Fryske Akademy/Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences, University of the West of Scotland and the Centre for Regional Studies, University of Karlstad. The network’s associated partners are the Barlett School of Planning, University College London,the University "Magna Græcia" of Catanzaro, Italy, and and Delft Technical University, Netherlands.
The main objective of the network is to explore what a historic perspective may contribute to regional studies as well as current regional policy making and how approaches and methodologies used by historians can be better integrated in the regional studies. As such the network reflects on the methodologies and historiographies of both the historical sciences and regional studies. From a policy maker perspective the network aims to demonstrate how historical approaches are beneficial to policy makers by taking into account a more long term perspective of economic development issues and the effectiveness of policy over longer periods. The network also aims to further integrate monitoring and evaluation practices for regional economic development that take into account long term changes and continuities whilst also demonstrating the added value of such approaches. From this perspective the network contributes to furthering understanding of endogenous growth theories.
The project comprises five workshops and a special sessions at the annual conferences of the Regional Studies Associations.