XLVII Reunión de Estudios Regionales. Challenges, policies and governance of the territories in the post-covid era

Special sessions

S01 – The regional dimension of the twin green and digital transition

Special session organizers: Javier Barbero and Anabela M. Santos

Sponsor: European Commission, Joint Research Centre (Seville, Spain)

The transition towards a digital and greener economy, the so-called twin transition, constitutes an opportunity and a challenge for regional economies. The green transition aims to re-orient the economy and society toward a resource-efficient and competitive economy to tackle the climate change challenge. The diffusion of digital technologies offers an opportunity to improve green efficiency and reduce the footprint of consumption and production processes.

For this special session, we invite researchers to submit papers on the topics related, but not limited, to:

  • The regional patterns of the digital and green transition.
  • Economic and social challenges and opportunities of the twin transition.
  • The role of European funds, public support, institutions and innovation policy towards achieving the green and digital transition.


S02 – Innovation, territorial development and public support

Special session organizers: Yevgeniya Shevtsova and Anabela M. Santos

Sponsor: European Commission, Joint Research Centre (Seville, Spain)

Innovation plays a key role in supporting economic growth and territorial development. Nevertheless, innovation tends to be concentrated geographically in some regions. Macro-economic factors influence the likelihood of innovation in a specific region. In the form of grants and subsidies, public support aims to enhance innovation and make it happen in more lagging regions. However, the capacity to attract some R&D subsidies, such as Horizon 2020, is still strongly heterogeneous across EU countries and regions.


For this special session, we invite researchers to submit papers on the topics mentioned above. Contributions helping to better understand regional disparities across EU regions in terms of their ability to innovate and to attract public research and innovation funding are particularly welcome.


S03 – Challenges in the construction of composite indicators for monitoring public policies


Ángeles Sánchez Domínguez (sancheza@ugr.es) – Profesora Titular del Dpto. Economía Aplicada – Universidad de Granada

Eduardo Jiménez Fernández (edjimfer@ugr.es) – Profesor Titular del Dpto. Teoría e Historia Económica – Universidad de Granada

Sponsor: ERDF-University of Granada, project B-SEJ-242-UGR20.


Many phenomena of interest for public policies are multidimensional in nature, which creates challenges when analysing them. The measurement of multidimensional concepts is essential because it allows monitoring their evolution over time and facilitates comparisons between different units. For example, poverty, socio-economic development, quality of life, or technology achievement are multidimensional concepts that are of interest to researchers and policy makers, not only in describing the situation of a unit (family, company, region, country, etc.) at a specific time, but also in gauging whether this situation has improved or worsened over time. The usual way to quantitatively measure these realities is through the collection of several single indicators that are informative regarding the different dimensions that make up the phenomenon to be studied.

Contrary to this option, the tendency is to then synthesize these in a composite indicator that is easier to interpret, compare and communicate. In this vein, composite indicators are increasingly being accepted as a useful tool for analysis and for guiding public and business policies. However, the construction of composite indicators is not simple and there is no universally accepted ‘best’ method for this. In this regard, various interconnected aspects have attracted attention in the composite indicator literature: the allocation of weights among the single indicators, the treatment of redundancy of information, or the method to aggregate the single indicators into a solely value.

This special session invites researches that address various aspects associated with the construction of composite indicators and their applications in monitoring public policies in any area, such as the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, European Social Cohesion, poverty, health economics, environmental economics, management, etc. Both applied and methodological studies focused on a large range of techniques (fuzzy metrics, machine learning, distance methods, multi-criterion approach, etc.) are welcome.


S04 – Regional disparities in Europe and in Spain from 2007 to date. Evolution, causes and perspectives

Coordinator: Juan R. Cuadrado Roura


The great crisis developed from 2007-08 has already had effects on the evolution of interregional disparities in Spain and in many European countries. Such effects have been rather heterogeneous, from regions highly affected to others only slightly. The resilience of some regions was also very remarkable, but regional disparities – from the economic and social points of view – started to grow again in many countries. The COVID-19 pandemic has also had clear but unlike effects at regional level, mainly due to differences on their productive structures. Finally, the post-pandemic phase adds some new trends and changes that can produce singular effects on the economic dynamics of many regions (development of new technologies; de-globalization processes; new jobs demand; energy problems and/or advantages; etc.).

Papers that focus on what has been described will be accepted for this special session, either from a general perspective (Europe; or a comparison between several countries) or limited to the case of Spain. The approach can either be to analyse the evolution from a general point of view (convergence/divergence), or focusing on specific aspects (employment; technological developments; relocation of companies; entrepreneurial capacities; policies evaluation; etc. ). The use of innovative methods of analysis and trends prospects will be particularly valued.

The purpose is to organize a minimum of two parallel sessions on these topics. According to a reviewer process It is planned to produce a monographic issue of an academic journal or, eventually, a book.


S05 – Population Decline and Income Inequalities

Organizers: Luisa Alamá, Vicente Budí, Miguel Ángel Márquez y Emili Tortosa

In recent years, depopulation and “left behind places” have become a central topic in regional economics. The growing interest in population dynamics and territorial inequalities is mainly due to an interest in designing policies to improve the current trends. Thus, one question to consider is to what extent the policies applied to these territories can contribute to changing these dynamics and re-establishing population balances to reduce the risk of depopulation. Moreover, in most regions affected by these processes, socio-economic inequalities can exacerbate the risk of depopulation. In this context, population and employment variables become key variables for redefining the theoretical models to tailor them to a heterogeneous territory, both from spatial and sectoral perspectives. This session aims to enable the presentation and discussion of studies devoted to analysing the determinants of regional inequality and/or the risk of depopulation from different perspectives (descriptive, theoretical, and empirical).

S06 – Artificial intelligence, creative industries and robotics

Coordinator: Rafael Boix

This session is aimed at discussing three of the most important technological transformations today and their relationship with regional science and the territory: artificial intelligence, creative industries and robotics. These three transformations are affecting people’s daily lives, their jobs, salaries, qualifications, leisure, personal and family life, and even the sustainability of our ways of life. In isolation or together, they will mark the evolution of the territories in the first half of the 21st century.

We invite you to submit those articles that relate the territory to any of these transformations separately or together, whether they are of a theoretical or applied nature. Lots of encouragement and see you in Granada!!!


S07 – New approaches to the historical economic geography of Spain


Daniel A. Tirado Fabregat (Universitat de València)

Pau Insa-Sánchez (Universitat de València)


In the last years, an increasingly influential strand of literature has emphasized the need to understand the historical roots of economic development trajectories. Specifically, the sources of economic growth can be better understood if an “historical analysis of the reasons for the relative success or failure of different regions in different national and/or supranational contexts” is considered (Martí-Henneberg and Tirado, 2018). From this point of view, historical economic geography becomes a discipline of reference when it comes to improving our understanding of the path of development that has taken us to the present, while at the same time allowing a better formulation of public policies to face the problems of our time.


This special session tries to bring together researchers who work on topics related to the human geography of Spain in historical perspective, regardless of the thematic or chronological focus. The objective is to share the most recent questions and methodologies that seek to better understand the interactions between population, economic activity, and development in the recent history of Spain.


S08 – An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Municipalities


Ignacio Cazcarro (icazcarr@unizar.es) –ARAID (Aragonese Agency for Research and Development). IA2- Dpto. Económico– Univ. de Zaragoza

Ana Serrano González (asergon@unizar.es) – Profesora Titular del Dpto. Económico– Univ. de Zaragoza

Miguel Martín-Retortillo (miguel.martinr@uah.es)– Profesor Contratado Doctor. Dep. Economía, Facultad de Economía, Empresa y Turismo, Univ. de Alcalá.

Sponsor: Ramón Areces Foundation project grant (Call 2021).


If “the wealth of regions” constitutes an instrument of communication and exchange of ideas with the society of the AECR, one of the smallest, but at the same time most significant units of analysis for the territories, such as the municipalities, constitutes a rich source of analysis. This is especially evident when it comes to understanding economic, social and political phenomena in an interdisciplinary way, in attempts to understand differences in these 3 dimensions between municipalities according to their characteristics, between urban and rural, demographic challenges, in development, in the face of climate change, dependency relationships between territories, the effects of human activities, etc.

This is being seen methodologically from many fields. E.g. within the input-output analysis some studies are moving towards the disaggregation of information to obtain relevant results from Censuses at this level. Spatial econometrics is incorporating dependencies with weight matrices at these levels. From economic history, an effort is placed in understand their development factors, also to better understand what can be expected in the future, understanding how we arrive to the current situation. Sometimes still, the lack of coherent, consistent and unified databases, especially in a medium and long-term perspective, have limited the development of more analysis at this level. There are currently developments to overcome some of these shortcomings, while other studies, due to their casuistry, exemplify problems and solutions to improve the understanding of these phenomena.

This special session invites research that addresses various aspects associated with the socioeconomic and environmental analysis of municipalities, including the development of databases, methods suited for their (e.g. comparative) analysis and applied studies.

The purpose is to organize a minimum of one session, but if there are enough communications, several sessions will be requested, probably around different spatial, temporal, methodological or applied focuses. The organizers also seek that the contributions allow the production of a monographic/special volume of an academic journal (or failing that, a book summarizing the articles).


S09 -Tourism as territorial development phenomenon from a business perspective

Special session organizers: Ángela Martínez Pérez and Job Rodrigo Alarcón.

Sponsor: University of Castilla-La Mancha. Project PID2020-117398GB-I00, funded by MCIN/AEI/ 10.13039/501100011033.

Tourism is considered a strategic industry since it provides dynamism to the economy as a result of links generated between sectors, and because of its relevance in terms of added value and employment. Over recent decades, tourism destinations have been studied from the perspective of different disciplines, such as Geography, Anthropology and Sociology, finding a higher interest in analysing this phenomenon from Management and Marketing disciplines.

The overall experience of tourists in a destination is influenced by the bundle of services and products consumed during their stay in a delimited geographical area. This fosters cooperation between companies located within the destination because their common goal is to achieve a better overall experience for visitors. The increase of competition between tourist destinations with the aim of attracting travellers to offer an overall travel experience, promotes the development of companies’ innovations to obtain sustainable advantages. In addition, the hypercompetitive environment in which tourism companies operate requires differentiated and innovative behaviours. This orientation takes on even more relevance in the tourism industry after the COVID-19 health crisis, revealing the strong territorial dependence of this sector.

Therefore, this special session aspires to become a meeting point for researchers whose topic is tourism from a business perspective, regardless of the theoretical and methodological approach applied, in order to generate synergies that allow a deeper understanding of the territorial tourism phenomenon.


S10 – Wine, wine routes and heritage: Three basic resources to promote territorial development


Bartolomé Marco-Lajara (bartolome.marco@ua.es), Full Professor, University of Alicante (Spain).

Patrocinio Zaragoza-Sáez (patrocinio.zaragoza@ua.es), Full Professor, University of Alicante (Spain).

Javier Martínez-Falcó (javier.falco@ua.es), Assistant Professor, University of Alicante (Spain).


The quest for wine quality in an increasingly competitive and globalized market is an objective shared by all wine regions around the world. In this context, the desire to innovate and offer consumers products that complement the wine itself has led to the creation of a wide wine tourism offer, often articulated around the so-called oenological routes. Likewise, heritage has acquired a prominent role in the economy of rural areas, particularly that linked to the vine, as it embodies a unique way of working the territory, the result of which is a rich legacy that is now also revalued for its emotional, identity, environmental and recreational richness. The aim of the session is therefore to address the role of the wine industry in the economic and social development of the regions in which its activity is located, as well as to reflect on the incorporation of wine tourism and cultural heritage into the wine offer, as they represent two fundamental resources for the survival and proper development of the sector.


S11 – Catalysts and “unintended” consequences of innovation


Tania Fernández García (University of Oviedo)

Diana Gutierrez Posada (University of Oviedo)

Fernando Rubiera Morollon (University of Oviedo)



There is a solid line of research focused on the links between innovation and its potential benefits in national, regional and local economies, as well as on its results at the individual or company level. However, the mechanisms behind the impacts of innovation on the economy remain a matter of interest given its relationship with knowledge and the generation of indirect effects, which gives rise to a series of nuances and complexities. For example, not all places have the absorptive capacity to benefit from innovation due to their own socio-economic conditions. In this context, smart specialization strategies play a crucial role by encouraging territories to use the resources invested more efficiently, adapting to their own circumstances. The same thing happens at the company level: not all companies can process and integrate innovations in their area in the same way, given their characteristics.

This special session aims to bring together interdisciplinary research on the catalysts that affect the relationship between innovation and economic performance at the regional and individual/company levels. In addition, it is proposed to discuss the unintended consequences of innovation and the policy tools to manage them. Some of the topics of particular interest include:

– Innovative activities and business development.

– Agents/factors of the capacity to absorb innovation at the regional/company level.

– Smart specialization strategies related to innovation.

– Innovation, sustainability and inequality.


S12 – Clusters and sustainability in times of COVID-19



Teresa Martínez Fernández – Universitat Jaume I, Castelló (Spain)

Gloria Parra Requena – University of Castilla-La Mancha (Spain)

Teresa Vallet Bellmunt – Universitat Jaume I, Castelló (Spain)


Since the appearance of the well-known Brundtland Report in 1987, sustainability has acquired a vital role for economic and social activity throughout the world. Thus, in recent decades there has been a growing social, institutional and scientific concern about the impact of human activity on the sustainability of ecosystems, demanding sustainable development. But how to achieve sustainable development? Many of the current challenges facing society can only be resolved from a global perspective in terms of sustainability. It is a commitment to social progress, environmental balance and economic growth.

Companies, as central actors in the economy, have a dual role in sustainable development, being, on the one hand, generators of sustainability problems and, on the other, essential to achieve more competitive and sustainable environmental, social and economic environments (Baumgartner and Rauter, 2017). From this approach, companies are required to implement sustainable postures to reconcile their competitiveness with their commitment to solving the natural and social problems generated by economic activity (Kiron et al., 2017). However, the potential of companies to contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has been seriously threatened by the COVID-19 crisis.

In this framework, sustainability has become in recent years an important perspective within the organizational field (Amui et al., 2017) and, particularly, in business strategy. Academically, the business-sustainability relationship has been analyzed from various theoretical approaches, including: 1) corporate social responsibility (CSR) and 2) corporate sustainability (SC). Recently, following the foundations of these approaches, the concept of sustainability orientation (OS) has appeared, as a proactive strategic posture, which will allow companies to face a drastic process of business transformation to proactively promote business sustainability in times of pandemic , integrating sustainability concerns, behaviors and practices in which economic, environmental and social interests are balanced (Khizar et al., 2021). Likewise, another topic is the entrepreneurial orientation to sustainability (OES) with the aim of analyzing how companies detect and take advantage of opportunities linked to sustainable development (Martínez et al., 2015; Criado-Gomis et al., 2020).

On the other hand, the current environment is being unpredictable, with disruptions on the supply side (supply crisis, energy crisis), price increases, health crises, humanitarian crises, etc., which are already beginning to affect demand . Cluster companies may have a higher level of resilience than non-agglomerated companies (Dai et al, 2021), which is why research is being requested to address how the disruption caused by the pandemic has affected companies belonging to clusters. of COVID-19 in the global economy of the movement of capital, labor and goods through supply chains, and how they combine sustainability and resilience in turbulent environments.

Under these premises, we focus on those territorial agglomerations that generate economies or advantages for the companies and organizations located there. Currently, we can see how sustainability in these clusters/districts arouses great academic, social and political concern. Thus, in the literature on clusters, new approaches are demanded to address the competitiveness and sustainability of territorial agglomerations (Díez-Vial and Montoro-Sánchez, 2017).

Therefore, the objective of this special session is to collect the most recent contributions in the field of sustainability and its relationship with the territory from a strategic perspective. Topics on which this session is based include, but are not limited to, the following by way of example.

a) Key elements of the orientation towards the sustainability of territorially concentrated companies.

b) Causes of sustainable innovation and its impact on the territory.

c) Advances and research in entrepreneurship and innovation for sustainable development in a cluster environment.

d) Influence of the territory in achieving the SDGs.

e) Role of the various territorial actors in sustainable development.

f) Innovation in the cluster as a catalyst for sustainability / Agenda 2030.

g) Resilience and sustainability in the cluster


S13 – Supply chains and mobility of the population in the Valencian Community

Coordinator: Paloma Taltavull (UA) and María Feo (UV)

Promoter: Chair of Transformation of the Valencian Economic Model (UA)


The effects of the financial crisis and the recent war in Ukraine have destabilized global supply chains, forcing advanced economies to develop strategic alternatives to maintain supplies. The vulnerability of supply chains in the Valencian economy of companies, firmly opened to the outside world, is a highly relevant issue addressed through research in this area.

Additionally, the economic effects of the development of areas of productive activity generate dynamics within the Community that modify the mobility flows of the population. The reasons for permanent mobility are unknown, and recent empirical evidence shows a direction of flows that enhances decentralization. This is the opposite of ‘lost population areas’ phenomenon and is studied by Cátedra’s researchers.


S14 – Generation of prospective scenarios in the New Rurality

Coordinators: Pablo Lara – UOC Antonia Ferrer-UPV

This session focuses on studies on the future to pose challenges/solutions applied to the new rurality. For this, different experts analyze the evolution, impact and behavior of trends in future scenarios of the new rurality. The works are focused on establishing the main disruptive changes in the world of rural tourism, agriculture and livestock. The objective of the table is to respond to the need to detect opportunities based on future scenarios in order to discuss an offer of relevant services and products that are adjusted to the challenges posed by the new rurality.


S15 – Input-output analysis and environment. Theory and applications

Coordinator: Carmen Ramos

In recent years we have been witnessing numerous social, health and climatic crises that are generating, or may generate in the future, strong changes in our way of life. In this sense, we can refer to the effects that the pandemic has had and still has on our society and all the aspects related to climate change that are of great concern worldwide.

The input-output analysis makes it possible to address, from both a theoretical and an applied perspective, the impact of this type of “natural phenomena” on the economy and on the society where they occur. The study of these impacts allows a greater knowledge of these problems, in addition to providing, on the one hand, a clearer perspective of the real situation and, on the other, a vision of where its approach and treatment can go.

This session aims to be a forum for discussion and reflection on the latest research (theoretical or applied) in input-output analysis and its environmental perspective, as well as being the seed for new research in this field.


S16 -Spatial Perspectives in Cultural Economics

Coordinator: Luis Cesar Herrero-Prieto. University of Valladolid


Cultural economics, as a research line which deals with economic analysis of the production, consumption and provision of cultural goods, constitutes a recognized study area (JEL Z11), as well as an excellent field for theoretical analysis and empirical works in economics. All cultural activities, both current or accumulated (historical heritage) undoubtedly involve  a spatial dimension, in a two-fold meaning: space plays a role as an element of interaction and accumulation of cultural and creative activities, while culture contributes to regions’ identity and undeniably to their competitiveness profile and possibilities for economic development in the medium and long term. Based on this hypothesis, a highly prolific research field has developed on the location analysis of the cultural and creative sector, as well as its contribution to regional economic growth. Studies have also explored the regional dimension of the sector and the economic impact of certain activities, events and cultural institutions. However, the possibilities of this spatial approach do not end there. Many other lines of work have emerged, such as the analysis of inequality in cultural consumption patterns, the evaluation of institutions and provision of cultural services from a regional perspective, the creation of cultural indicators with spatial specification, or cultural capital evaluation –both material and immaterial– and their spatial impact.

The purpose of this special section is to launch a call for papers to researchers, scholars and young researchers alike who wish to present and discuss their work in the field of economic analysis of goods, markets and cultural activities in a broad sense, under the common perspective of the spatial dimension of research or its results.