Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2014, Vol. 69 ›› Issue (8): 1207-1223.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201408014

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Progress of economic geography in the West: A literature review

Canfei HE(), Qi GUO, Yan MA, Shuaibang FAN, Yujia ZHAO   

  1. College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China; Peking University-Lincoln Institute Center for Urban Development and Land Policy, Beijing 100871, China
  • Received:2014-04-23 Revised:2014-07-20 Online:2014-08-20 Published:2014-08-20


Since the 1980s, the western countries have developed into the postindustrial society with the dominance of knowledge based economies and services. The societal economic transformations make the space-economy relations more complex. Economic actors are embedded in the complex global-local system. Economic geography starts to go beyond economics and widely borrows theories and methods from sociology, management, institutional economics, anthropology, and cultural studies. This paper provides a comprehensive literature review about the progress in the western economic geography in the last three decades, documenting the changes of research perspectives, progresses in hot research areas and policy relevance. The mainstream economic geography has experienced a number of turns in research perspectives, including new regionalism, institutional turn, cultural turn, relational turn and evolutionary turn. Political economy remains one of the influential perspectives in the research of economic geography, especially in the global financial crisis. Based on the analysis of knowledge network of economic geography built with key words, this paper identifies eight hot research areas in the western economic geography and reviews their progresses in research. Those areas include region and local development, industrial geography, economic globalization, labor geography, innovation geography, consumption geography, financial geography and environmental economic geography. Finally, this paper summarizes the key features of economic geography in the west and proposes some implications for economic geographers in China.

Key words: western economic geography, postindustrial society, hot research areas, literature review