Regional Development Theories and Formalised Economic Approaches: An Evolving Relationship

  • Roberta CapelloEmail author
Research Paper - Keynote


This paper revisits, in a diachronic perspective, the evolution of the relationship between regional development theories, on the one hand, and formalised economic models on the other. The initial intuition is that in order to interpret the complexity of the real world there is a need for a stronger integration and cross-fertilization between the qualitative/conceptual approaches and formalised/analytical ones. The relationship between the two approaches has evolved over time, achieving however only a partial convergence. In fact, still required is a step forward which would produce an approach combining the economic laws and mechanisms which explain growth, on the one hand, with the territorial features that spring from the intrinsic relationality present at local level on the other. The paper ends by presenting the result of a research programme developed over 15 years by the author and her research group: a regional macroeconomic growth model, called MASST (macroeconomic, sectoral, social and territorial), able to merge the richness of the conceptual, qualitative, approaches interpreting the complexity of economic phenomena taking place at territorial (local) level with the rigour and the precision of the formalised, analytical, models. The interpretative power of such a tool, presented in the last part of the paper, testifies to the appropriateness of the initial intuition.


Formailsed economic approaches Regional development theories Evolution in their relationship 



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Copyright information

© Società Italiana degli Economisti (Italian Economic Association) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department ABCPolitecnico di MilanoMilanoItaly

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