Growth Pole Theory GROWTH POLE REFERS to the concentration of highly innovative and technically advanced industries that

stimulate economic development in linked businesses and industries. This concept was first introduced by François Perroux in 1950, was further sharpened in following publications, and finally evolved into an idea that came to take on a meaning rather different from the one posited by Perroux. While he had conceived a growth pole to be a focus of economic development in an abstract economic space, it was interpreted by his disciples, particularly Jacques Boudeville, to be a focus of development in geographic space. Perroux, a 20th-century French economist, was largely influenced by the ecopolitical climate around him when he wrote about the concept of the growth pole. At this time, France was in its post-World War II phase of rebuilding itself under the Marshall Plan. Urban areas were the primary centers of economic growth, relying on technology- and innovation-based industries that thrived on primary resources such as iron ore or agricultural products from the surrounding region. These concentrations of industries often affected the economies of geographical areas outside their immediate regions. Also apparent to Perroux was the dominance of colonial centers over geographically dispersed colonized areas. Perroux’s observation and belief was that concentrations of economic forces would develop in areas that could provide the material and infrastructural resources necessary for the establishment, sustenance, and growth of key industries. These resources contributed toward the economic growth of this cluster of industries and caused them to become key or “propulsive” industries that caused an economic thrust in related industries and businesses through “fields of (economic) forces.” The thrust was not necessarily felt in the growth pole’s surrounding region, or even within its country of location. Therefore, this concept recognized the forces of polarization but did not recognize geographic or political boundaries. However, Jacques Boudeville and other interpreters of Perroux’s growth pole concept replaced “economic space” with geographic space, an idea that was readily adopted by regional planners and economic geographers who were pressed into making economic development plans on a regional scale. The idea was to identify selected nuclei for industrial growth to stimulate development in the surrounding area instead of focusing on the underdeveloped region as a whole. This idea was then touted as a remedy for jump-starting the slumping economies of entire regions or inducing development into economically retarded areas. As history has shown, this theory did not readily translate into practice when it was applied in the developing world, and growth could not be injected into a geographic region by adding a growth pole into it. A more comprehensive territorial approach seemed to be more appropriate for both rural and urban development. Even in the developed world, Dutch national planning experience aimed at correcting regional imbalances by earmarking less developed areas for growth during the 1950s and 1960s did not have the desired “spread effect” in the surrounding area. It has since been realized that the failure was not of Perroux’s growth pole theory but of its faulty application as a space-bound concept, and a remedy for all regional underdevelopment. Today, as economic interaction encompasses macroregions and becomes globalized, Perroux’s original theory seems likely to find validation. A recent example of such growth pole effects may be found in the Silicon Valley in San Jose, California. The information technology (IT) industry here grew at a meteoric rate in the 1990s, but the economic stimulus was not restricted to the state of California or even the United States. Its impact was felt through increased employment and social development in the developing countries of Asia halfway around the globe.

The process of development of a propulsive firm or industry is called polarization. defined growth poles in terms of what he called abstract economic space. J-R.The French economist. The policy makers presumed that economists could supply the technical analysis needed to make sense of the policies based upon the concept of growth poles. He and others have written about the concept extensively and yet.François Perroux's Concept of A Growth Pole François Perroux introduced the idea of economic Growth Poles in 1949. An external economy exits if a change in the output of one firm or one industry affects costs in other economic plan 2. If a growth in production in one industry stimulates production in the industries supplying it then that industry has backward linkages. the coke and coal industries and the transportation industry involved in transporting those inputs to the steel industry. A firm or industry A is said to be dominant over B if the flow of goods and services from A to B is a greater proportion of A's output than the flow from B to A is of B's output. Despite Perroux's denial that growth poles are geographic many of the applications of the . there is no consensus as to what it means.a field of force or influences 3. however. as in the case of the development of integrated circuit technology in the electronics industry. Perroux conceived of abstract economic space to be of three types: 1. A forward linkage when the availability of the output of an industry make possible the production of industries using that output. Bourdeville made a study of the steel industry of the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais as a growth pole. the plastic producing industry makes it feasable for businesses requiring plastic to begin operation. or they may be positive. as in the case of pollutions costs.a homogeneous aggregate Perroux specifically denied that abstract economic space could correspond to a geographic area such as a city or region. despite this or perhaps because of this. There is considerable intuitive appeal of the concept and so it has had influence on policy makers. agglomeration and linkages. Linkages may be forward or backward. the steel industry has backward linkages to the iron ore mining industry. Perroux. External economies of scale may be negative. For Perroux the aspect of dominance was important for growth poles. A large firm or industry that has a high degree of interaction with others and is dominant in that interaction is said to be propulsive.Linkage is a concept developed in regional economics. At an extreme a growth pole might be a single firm or it might be a group of industries.Perroux and other writers on growth poles try to base the concept on the notions of external economies.The intuitive notion of growth poles would identify a growth pole as an industry or perhaps a group of firms with an industry. For example. For example.

Growth centers are related to the concept of agglomeration. the regional economy of Paris can be considered to be a growth pole. Trickling down is the term he uses for the positive impact of a growth pole or growth center on adjacent regions. .The American economist. Others have extended the concept to the relationship of the North Atlantic center of Westerm Europe and North America to Latin America.Altogether the concept of growth poles has been of only marginal importance in analyzing regional economic problems.concept are for geographic regions. Nevertheless the idea of growth poles has had a major role in formulating regional policy. John R.In the U.S. has developed a concept that is related but distinct from the ideas of growth poles and growth centers. The attraction of Paris has been so great that it has been extremely difficult to promote any economic development in the area outside of the Paris region. French planning literature refers to this as the phenomenon of Paris and the French Desert.These applications often are enlightening. Africa and Southeast Asia. use the terms backwash and spread for the same concepts as Hirschman's polarization and trickling down. For example.Albert Hirschman uses the term polarization to refer to the negative impact of a growth pole on surrounding regions. the concept of growth poles has usually taken the form emphasizing geographic location which are called Growth Centers. Friedman. Friedman developed this idea in analyzing the relationship of the interior regions of Venezuela to the coastal regions. In many ways the American work on growth centers is virtually independent of Perroux and the French literature on growth poles. The case of Paris shows that effect of polarization on the surrounding geographic area is not always positive. It is called the matter of the center versus the periphery. the Swedish economist. Gunnar Myrdal.

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