Geographical vs institutional factors of the development of old industrial regions in industry 4.0: the case of Ural macro-region

Irina I. Rakhmeeva


Relevance. Massive industrial and economic changes, which are a part of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, bring about new challenges and opportunities for regional development. The factors that used to play a key role in the development of regions such as labor, capital and geography, are now receding to the background while other factors such as technological progress, human capital and institutions gain importance.

Research objective. The article deals with changes in the factors that shape regional development, more specifically, it aims to compare the influence of geographical and institutional factors on the development of one of the leading industrial macro-regions in Russia – the Urals.

Data and methods. The research contains regional analysis of geographical and institutional factors in old industrial regions of the Ural macroregion of Russia. The method of geographical zoning is based on collation the development levels of regions with their geographical and institutional competitive positions.

Results. The research revealed the complexity of factors affecting old industrial regions in Russia in the 2010s: some of these regions are still highly dependent on geographical factors while others are largely shaped by institutional factors. Such territories show sustainable development of their economies and innovation sectors. We also found a significant correlation between the regions’ economic performance and their formal institutions (the quality of regulation) while the differences in informal institutions were negligible.

Conclusions. The conclusion is made that regional authorities in Russia should put more effort into creating a better regulatory environment for innovation and industry.


geographical factors, institutional factors, development factors, old industrial region, fourth industrial revolution, regulatory environment

Full Text:



Acemoglu,D.,& Robinson, J. (2012). Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty. NY: Crown Publishers.

Animitsa E.G., Rakhmeeva I.I. (2020). Third institutional revolution and change of structure of economic relations.Scientific works of the Free economic society of Russia, 222 (2), 206-218. DOI: 10.38197/2072-2060-2020-222-2-206-218.

Bodrunov, S. D. (2019). Noonomica: conceptual framework of a new paradigm of development. Journal of new economy,20 (1), 5-12. (In Russ.). DOI: 10.29141/2073-1019-2019-20-1-1.

Cappellano, F., & Rizzo, A. (2019). Economic drivers in cross-border regional innovation systems. Regional Studies, Regional Science, 6 (1),460-468. DOI: 10.1080/21681376.2019.1663256

Carayannis, E., & Grigoroudis, E. (2016) Quadruple Innovation Helix and Smart Specialization: Knowledge Production and National Competitiveness.Foresight and STI Governance, 10 (1), 31–42. DOI: 10.17323/1995-459x.2016.1.31.42.

Chen, Z., Haynes, K. E., Zhou, Y., &Dai, Z. (2019). High speed rail and China’s new economic geography: Impact assessment from the regional science perspective. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

Connor, R., & Dovers, S. (2004). Institutional Change for Sustainable Development. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

Durkheim, E., Pocock, D. F. (1953). Sociology and Philosophy. Glencoe: Free Press.

Edelman Trust Barometer 2020: Global Report. (2020). Edelman. Retrieved from:

Frolov, D.P. (2015). Do Institutions Matter in Spatial Economics?]. Spatial economics, 1, 14–37. (In Russ.). DOI: 10.14530/se.2015.1.014-037.

Glazyev, S. Yu., Ajvazov, A. E., & Belikov, V. A. (2018). The future of the world economy is an integrated world economic structure. Economy of region, 14 (1), 1-12. DOI: 10.17059/2018-1-1.

Gorshkov, M. K. (2015). Russian identity in the context of new challenges and risks. Scientific works of the Free economic society of Russia, 195 (6), 274-290. (In Russ.)

Keidanren, (Japan Business Federation). (2016). Toward realization of the new economy and society — Reform of the economy and society by the deepening of «Society 5.0». Retrieved from:

Kirdina, S.G. (2016). The role of institutions and geography in economic development: actual discussion in heterodox economy. Spatial economics, 3,133-150. (In Russ.). DOI: 10.14530/se.2016.3.133-150

Lazzeretti, L., & Capone, F. (2016). How proximity matters in innovation networks dynamics along the cluster evolution. A study of the high technology applied to cultural goods. Journal of Business Research, 69, 5855–5865.

Lorenz, A., Hemmer, H.-R., & Ahlfeld S. (2005). The Economic Growth Debate – Geography Versus Institutions: Is There Anything Really New? EntwicklungsökonomischeDiskussionsbeiträge, 34, 19.

Lyashenko, E. A. (2018). Experience and problems of formation of the regional institutional environment of functioning of Technopark structures. Azimut of Scientific Research: Economics and Administration, 7, (3), 172 -175. (In Russ.)

Marx, K. (1894). Capital: A Critique of Political Economy. Volume III. NY: International Publishers.

Mironov, B.N. (2014). Who is guilty: nature or institutions? Geographical factor in the history of Russia. Social sciences and modernity, 5, 130–141. (In Russ.)

Mokronosov, A.G., &Anisimov, A.V. (2019). Improving the institutional environment strategic design intangible assets of the territory. Scientific works of the Free economic society of Russia, 215 (1),239-263. (In Russ.)

Moralles, H.F., Silveira, N.J.C., & Rebelatto, D.A.N. (2019) Spatial spillovers of innovation and transport in Brazil. Area Development and Policy, 4 (4), 382-398. DOI: 10.1080/23792949.2018.1549502.

Morisson, A. (2019) Knowledge Gatekeepers and Path Development on the Knowledge Periphery: The Case of Ruta N in Medellin, Colombia. Area Development and Policy, 4 (1), 98-115. DOI: 10.1080/23792949.2018.1538702

North, D. (1990). Institutions, Institutional Change and Economic Performance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

North, D., & Thomas, R. (1973). The Rise of Western World: A New Economic History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Parent, O., & Zouache, A. (2012). Geography Versus Institutions: New Perspectives on the Growth of Africa and the Middle East. Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics, 168 (3), 488–518.

Pipes, R.E. (1974). Russia Under the Old Regime. NY: Charles Scribner's Sons.

Rakhmeeva, I.I. (2019). The digitalization in the service the asessment of regulatory legal acts. Advances in Economics, Business and Management Research Proceedings of the 1st International Scientific Conference, 178-181. DOI: 10.2991/MTDE-19.2019.34.

Rodrik, D., Subramanian, A., & Trebbi, F. (2002). Institutions Rule: The Primacy of Institutions Оver Geography and Integration in Economic Development. NBER Working Paper, 9305, 1-44.

Sachs, J.D. (2003). Institutions Don’t Rule: Direct Effects of Geography on Per Capita Income. NBER Working Paper, 9490, 1-12. DOI: 10.3386/w9490.

Silin, Ya.P., Animitsa, E.G., & Novikova, N.V. (2017). Trends in the development of the economic space of the Ural macroregion. The Manager, 2 (66),2-11. (In Russ.)

Tambovtsev, V.L. (2019). Sustainable Regional Development: Actual Directions of Institutional Analysis. Journal of institutional studies, 3,104-118. (In Russ.). DOI: 10.17835/2076-6297.2019.11.3.104-118.

Topoleva, T.N. (2019). Regional development: new theories. Juvenis Scientia, 6, 14-17. (In Russ.). DOI: 10.32415/jscientia.2019.06.03.

United Nations Human Settlements Programme. (2016). Urbanization and Development: Emerging Futures. World Cities Report. United Nations Human Settlements Programme.

Vernadsky, V. I. (1988). Scientific thought as a planetary phenomenon. M.: Nauka. (In Russ.).

Vogelpohl, T., & Aggestam, F. (2012). Public policies as institutions for sustainability: potentials of the concept and findings from assessing sustainability in the European forest based sector. European Journal of Forest Research, 131 (1), 57–71.

Wrana,J.,& Nguyen, T.X.T. (2019) ‘Strategic coupling’ and regional development in a transition economy: what can we learn from Vietnam? Area Development and Policy, 4 (4), 454-465. DOI: 10.1080/23792949.2019.1608838.

Zubarevich, N.V. (2010). Regional development and institutions: Russian specifics. Regional research, 2 (28), 3-14.


Copyright (c) 2020 Irina I. Rakhmeeva

Сertificate of registration media Эл № ФС77-80764 от 28.04.2021
Online ISSN 2412-0731