The Baltic Region

2020 Vol. 12 № 2

The theory of peripheral capitalism: on the applicability of the Latin American model to the Baltic States. An attempt at an inter-disciplinary analysis

Abstract

The relevance of this study of post-Soviet transition lies in the focus on the technically theoretical problems that are nevertheless the key to understanding regional development processes in the East of the Baltic Sea. The research aims to verify the theory of peripheral capitalism as applied to the Baltic States. The first theoretical objective is to draw a distinction between the ideas of modernisation and transformation in a regional context. The second objective is to adjust the theory of peripheral capitalism to smaller states. To study the features of the transformation of economic and political systems in the Baltics, this article conducts comparative analysis. Systemic analysis and the principles of theoretical and empirical analysis are used as well. Building on this work, the study identifies the deficiencies of the theoretical and methodological potential of transition studies. These include claims that the theoretical and methodological potential of transition as applied to post-Socialist and post-Soviet Europe has been completely fulfilled. Geographical differences between Latin America and the Baltic States are so obvious that they eclipse economic similarities between the processes and development models characteristic of the two regions of the world. An analysis of current developments in Latin America makes it possible to forecast the economic and, to a degree, political consequences of the trends that are just emerging in the Baltics. This article seeks to prove the above thesis.

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Development of electric road transport: simulation modelling

Abstract

Electric transport is rapidly gaining popularity across the world. It is an example of technological advancement that has multiple consequences for regional economies, both in terms of the adaptation of production, transport and energy systems and their spatial optimization. The experience of leading economic regions, including countries of the Baltic Sea region, shows that electric transport can potentially substitute traditional transport technologies. Based on an authentic model of system dynamics, the authors propose a new approach to simulation modelling of the dissemination of electric vehicles in a given region. The proposed model allows the authors to take into account the key systemic feedback loops between the pool of electric vehicles and the charging infrastructure. In the absence of data required for the econometric methods of demand forecasting, the proposed model can be used for the identification of policies stimulating the consumer demand for electric vehicles in regions and facilitating the development of the electric transport infrastructure. The proposed model has been tested using real and simulated data for the Kaliningrad region, which due to its specific geographical location, is a convenient test-bed for developing simulation models of a regional scale. The proposed simulation model was built via the AnyLogic software. The authors explored the capacity of the model, its assumptions, further development and application. The proposed approach to demand forecasting can be further applied for building hybrid models that include elements of agent modelling and spatial optimization.

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Development of cross-border tourist and recreational regions on the Karelian section of the Russian-Finnish border

Abstract

Despite that fact that cross-border tourism and recreation in the Baltic Sea Region have been extensively studied, there are still areas, which require further research. The aim of this article is to identify regions having active cross-border tourism and recreation in the adjacent territories of Finland and the Republic of Karelia. The authors propose to use an indicator characterizing the volume of incoming tourist flows. The number of tourists is not only indicative of the development of cross-border tourism and recreation; it is also one of the main criteria for determining the degree of the formation of cross-border regions. Using the statistics for Finland, the authors analyzed the geography of tourism in Finland’s border areas and identified the degree of intensity of cross-border tourism exchange between the neighbouring administrative units of the two countries. The article also examines other tendencies indicative of the formation and development of cross-border tourism and recreation regions along the Russian-Finnish border. The authors identified three cross-border tourism and recreation regions of different development levels: South Karelia, Middle Karelia and North Karelia. South Karelia is a mesoregion with the average annual tourist exchange of about 100 thousand people, which is the average level of tourism development. The total volume of cross-border tourist flows from and to other cross-border tourist and recreation regions is about 30 thousand people per year. Middle Karelia microregion ranks second and is followed by the North Karelian microregion. The authors conclude that these two microregions are at the initial stage of their formation and, therefore, can be regarded as parts of one microregion — Russian-Finnish Northern microregion.

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Tools for evaluating the competitiveness of innovative clusters

Abstract

Federal programmes to support regional clusters in Russia were introduced several years ago. Today, they need updating and revision. A promising starting point for effective support for hi-tech and innovative clusters may be an evaluation of cluster performance aimed to understand whether further development and financing of cluster projects are required and whether the list of supported clusters should be extended or reduced.
This article analyses the case of the Silicon Saxony innovation cluster (Germany), using the World Bank’s methodology for cluster competitiveness evaluation. Each analysis tool is provided with concrete data obtained for Germany and the Silicon Saxony cluster over the past ten years. Competitive clusters considered in the analysis are Minalogic in Grenoble (France) and Micro- and nanosystems in Catania (Italy). The results of employing the methodology are examined from the perspective of its possible use in evaluating the competitiveness of innovative clusters in the Russian Federation. Early recommendations on adapting the methodology are produced.

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