Experimental Industrial Policy: Regions, Actors and Their Institutions in Search of Self Narratives

Friday, June 24, 2016: 10:45 AM-12:15 PM
420 Barrows (Barrows Hall)
Gregor Murray, Université de Montréal, Montréal, QC, Canada; Université de Montréal, Montréal, QC, Canada; CRIMT - Interuniversity Research Centre on Globalization and Work
Matthieu Pelard, Interuniversity Research Centre on Globalization and Work & Canada Research Chair in Globalization and the Work World, Montreal, QC, Canada
Phil Almond, De Montfort University, Leicester, United Kingdom; N/A, United Kingdom
Tod Rutherford, Maxwell School, Syracuse, NY
The re-organization of global production networks places subnational regions and industries in a perpetual struggle to attract investment, ensure jobs and promote prosperity. On this economic battlefield, few appear to be convinced by the incantations of neo-liberalism. Policy makers, corporations, trade unionists and other civil society organizations are seeking to maintain or change institutions to attract capital and engage in skill development, firm upgrading and economic innovation.

Each region appears to be in search of its own self-narrative which is intertwined with a more or less explicit industrial policy and a series of policy and institutional levers, many of which are entirely institutional.

From where do these self-narratives emerge, how do they connect with combinations of low- and high-road competitiveness strategies, how do they legitimate new intermediary actors and institutions, who do they exclude and who do they include, ...?

These processes potentially open up space for alternative moral economies, centred on worker and community wellbeing, sustainability and deliberation and requiring new narratives and new capabilities to engage in institutional experimentation. However, whether and how they might do so remains an open-ended question.

Drawing on studies of multiple sub-national regions in Ontario and Quebec, this paper focuses on the actors and their efforts at institutional experimentation around economic development and industrial policies.