Structural change

As a regional structural change processes are referred to in economic geography that change the components and elements, competencies and skills as well as the relationships between the components and the infrastructure of a bounded region. It runs daily in increments, but is particularly visible over dramatic turning points in the design of the structure.

Structural change is also a political term, since the requirements are prepared for the change of a region in all levels of structural policy and are then processed conceptually wirtschaftsgeografisch. Both scientifically and politically, can be formulated to structural change and create only suggestions and frameworks. Structural change as economically embossed process itself is not controllable in any case. The aim of the political structure change is to obtain locational advantages or back - to keep and expand in the economic efficiency and differentiation is enhanced in the region - in the better case.

  • 2.2.1 General
  • 2.2.2 example
  • 2.3.1 General
  • 2.3.2 example
  • 2.4.1 General
  • 2.4.2 example
  • 3.1 Existing Structure
  • 3.2 Kompetenzaus and structure
  • 3.3 transformation of infrastructure

The current role

Structural change plays always obvious and politically relevant if a region or an entire country has structural problems or deemed to be structurally weak. In the European Union, this relates to the fields of EU enlargement, the North of Great Britain, the south of Italy and - not least - East Germany.

The structural weakness of the new federal states in Germany was politically after the degradation of a market protection. Was affected to a non- competitive economy. This watershed should be mitigated by transfers under the slogan " Aufbau Ost ". In particular, in the efficient breakdown and distribution of funds theories of regional structural change were discussed and applied. This contrasts with the accusation that State resources too thinly, ie without theoretical background has been distributed.

As it turned out, that the development of the East German regions is not homogeneous, but better in some centers - in many rural regions but runs worse, A change in principle is required and discussed at the promotion of so-called "beacons " 15 years after the start of transfer payments. As regions with much better potential spaces around Chemnitz, Dresden, Erfurt, Jena, Leipzig and Rostock and the commuter belt around Berlin are considered. The problems of the principle of " Lighthouse promotion " arising out of the breach of the principle of equality of the Basic Law, in particular the role of the federal government for " the establishment of equal living conditions" under Article 72 paragraph 2 of the Basic Law, it being noted that a heterogeneous economic structure within a nation in this respect can never comply with the principle of perfect equality (See also system of central places ).

Causes and triggers

The causes and triggers of structural change different processes are responsible. Structural change is due to a single cause in the rarest of cases. The causes of regional structural change arising from the socio-economic competition between regions, which must necessarily be accepted. This mutual competition leads to a change of influencing factors. The better chances of positive long-term development an area if it changes continuously and responds to causes.

Economic causes


The most common cause of structural change are weaknesses of a region in the economic competition with other comparable regions. In this case, it is often the closure of a large company with an impact on subcontractors, suppliers and labor market triggered a structural crisis and cause a structural change in the region.

Cause of the weakness may be completely different processes and operations. The reasons are, among others, the lack of renewal processes and the solidification of structures. Economic success went along with an increase in wages and cost of land and for precursors. If the innovative capacity of, threatens a relative loss of quality is no longer justify the high cost.

In recent years, in particular the change of the structures when searching for synergies ( clustering) and thus cost savings stood out as a means to safeguard the economic advantages of location.


The Ruhr is one of the regions of Europe, whose structure has been changed and shaped at an early industrialization. Through the coal mining and its proximity to the open sea ( ore supply ) thereby developed an industrial raw material processing. In particular, these areas are under enormous competitive pressure for decades, mainly because of the coal mining became uneconomic. Alternative industries developed relatively late in the automotive and mechanical engineering. Due to lack of innovation and investment in the production, these first replacement industries today are under pressure. Attractive by areas of the world

Social causes


The type and stage of development of a society is essentially the focus on the business sector (see also: Three - sector hypothesis ) of a region. The stage of development of a society is roughly divided into agricultural, industrial and information society. The transitions can be very blurry. The major goods are for the time being land and labor, later effective and efficient machinery, and information and knowledge. A higher stage of development due to increasing globalization, ie the global exchange of goods and information, and the distribution of value added in different regions.

Significant for structural change are the repercussions of higher economic sectors on the bottom. In practice this means that an industrial society also has better resources for agriculture. An information society improved its manufacturing. In the latter case one speaks today of the transformation of an industrial region into a "high-tech " region. The change in the social structure of a region creates locational advantages even with the available means of production and focal points. It also follows that the share of the gross domestic product of holdings in the lower sectors of the economy in a more developed society disappears under any circumstances.

Able to participate and use the transitions of the form of society can, it was already evident in the transition to an industrial society that a region required academic institutions.


The Republic of Ireland and primarily Dublin had even managed to skip the form of industrial society. The country was called because of the enormous economic development ( in line with the Asian Tigers ) Celtic Tiger. On admission to the European Union, Ireland was still as structurally weak, but was due to massive subsidies from the EU before the financial crisis, which began in 2007, the most dynamic regions of the EU.

The Irish economy managed it services mainly export by an excellent information infrastructure has been established. This case also uses the exposed location between North America and Europe. One striking aspect of Ireland, however, was that gross domestic product is much higher than the gross national income.

Ecological causes


The environmental causes are not to be neglected and often have serious consequences for a region. You're more common than is at first be expected. They often force to the total change in the structure of a region. Triggers can be very sudden and unforeseen effects.

Again, there are effects of higher -developed economic sectors can be recognized. Early detection of emerging bottlenecks and risks through a scientific analysis of environmental and resource planning, helps better predict such effects.


Example is the overfishing of water where eventually the point is reached at which a fish population can no longer create enough offspring. This is noticeable only when a sufficiently large fish more are suddenly available. Cause in the case is an overcapacity in fishing devices and the high efficiency of fishing.

As often fishing bans are pronounced in the case arise in the dependent regions high economic damage. One way to transform themselves, in case the build-up of fish farms, ie the agricultural holding and breeding of fish, or restructuring on tourism. Since aquaculture require a lot of water, because the mass livestock burden of this, suitable for aquaculture especially rugged coastline and deep, such as in Norway. Aquaculture can be automated to a high degree.

Other examples are the destruction of forests by monoculture that were created decades ago, or the clearing of rainforest to create ( required ) arable land, which are not available in the long term.

Political causes


Political measures and changes can affect structural change. In general, the state is trying to regulate change and controlling intervene. The negative form of this is actually subsidizing a now uneconomic industry and economic structure. The state attempt in the medium term to dampen rapid changes to give, for example, workers time to adjust. An inability of the region to switch to the adjustment of the subsidy to trigger a structural weakness threatens to become.

Other activities of the state are related to the stimulation of investment and settlement through subsidies. These are, for example, the disbursement of funds, (which may need to be used earmarked ), participation in companies and the guarantee for loans taken out debt investors or very often as an indirect subsidy the temporary tax exemption. Since investment subsidies can be offered by each region, will be held competition, particularly on these subsidies. Subsidies to eliminate the advantage in the bundle of locational advantages of a competitive region from the perspective of the region.

Other examples are the opening or closure of borders and the setting or introduction of protective tariffs.


The city of Bonn was since 1949 the seat of the German Bundestag, the German government and numerous federal agencies. Since the Bundestag in 1999 and later, the federal government moved to Berlin, Bonn lost its status as the seat of government and thus its most important economic factor.

Since the decision to relocate the Bundestag, Bonn has gained a reputation as a service location and statistically replace every workplace. The number of jobs rose by almost 30 % or about 22,000 compared to 1991, when the restructuring began. Bonn is therefore an example of how political causes and actions of the state need not necessarily be negative. The change in Bonn was formulated at an early stage, hedged about concepts and not suppressed.


Some properties and conditions influence the course of structural change. Can be roughly divided into those factors that arise by themselves, or those caused by an intervening structural policy.

Existing structure

Regions that have an established structure in several sectors of the economy seem to be particularly continuously adaptable. In the foreground there occurs the causal relationship between economic sectors. Is this relationship visible, it leads almost automatically to tap the connecting infrastructure and the development of other elements. For example, Frankfurt is located in a very favorable topographic situation in Central Europe. The importance as a logistics center was followed by the importance as a market and financial market location. The latter are closely related to information goods that can be recognized as logistic good again. In Frankfurt, thus also developed an excellent information infrastructure. Structural change takes place much more easily and continuous in such regions. Changes happen here because of economic necessity.

Kompetenzaus and structure

Research and higher education institutions are in particular since the early industrialization a factor that helped the region to position themselves favorably and develop. This factor is even more important in the current development of globalization, as the share of product development compared to the production in total value added has increased enormously. This includes the type of distribution of knowledge resources on the population.

It is also possible and advantageous for a region when it forms a core competence that they can continue to develop over decades. She also favors the continuous change of the structure. Examples of areas and regions with distinctive core competence include the Stuttgart Region in the automobile and aircraft industries or regions Dresden and Erfurt in the development of electrical engineering and microelectronics.

Transformation of infrastructure

In order to trigger successful structural change, a region must adapt the existing infrastructure to the new goods and products. Infrastructure is a prerequisite to distributed value chains in the region and to allow about the area out. Infrastructure is the point at which often attaches economic policy, particularly because the effectiveness of measures is more predictable than in Kompetenzaus - and construction.


Regional structural change triggers, especially if it happens quickly and suddenly, numerous problems. Structural change but, based on their region of residence or to other regions, only as perceived, where he accelerated and passes more easily perceptible. Because of this perception brings about structural change in many people fears.

The problems of structural changes concern in particular the inhabitants of the region. Specially created social, psychological and economic repercussions for the affected people.

If structural change along with rationalizing measures such as automation, there is release of labor and thus unemployment. Frequently, this problem is very tedious especially after rapid changes of the structure. Although the region preserved by such measures its competitiveness, it comes in the region to a different allocation of the acquired resources. There may be changes for the domestic economy of the region arise if the general purchasing power decreases.

The competition, which is exposed to a region that is transferred directly to the people in a region. Ultimately, residents of a region must be able to follow the change, which is not any possible mainly from social, physical and psychological reasons. To be able to follow the change in person, ie in particular the knowledge of new elements of the regional structure to obtain and to deal with new technologies. The adjustment of one's skills as a requirement, to participate in the changing world. Consequently, such people who built at a rapid structural change education residues, more difficult to integrate into the changing economic structure.

A further problem of structural change concerns the aftermath of a negative trigger, for example, the resolution of a core competency supporting industry in a region. Counter the problems arising from this, a region react with their regional marketing. Consequences of the problem are Image losses and difficulty in stimulating new investment and skilled migration.