Master's in Innovation and Spatial Dynamics

MSc with a major in Innovation and Spatial Dynamics | 2 years | 120 credits

Course content

All courses encompass 7.5 ECTS credits each. You normally study two courses in parallel.

Core courses

This course provides the student with a fundamental understanding of the theoretical and methodological problems associated with quantitative approaches to economic history. The first part of the course consists of theory and methods relating to multivariate linear regression, limited dependent variable regression and basics of time series analysis.

It also considers how to apply these methods, with examples of how such methods are used in economic demography and economic history. This part also introduces computer software (STATA or comparable) for quantitative analysis. In the second part of the course, students analyze a quantitative problem using actual data from economic demography or economic history, and report results in individual papers.

Course code: EKHM25 | Download curriculum

Innovation and technical change is central to long-term economic growth but it is treated very differently in economic theories. In a comparative manner this course presents technical change within major theoretical approaches: neoclassical growth models, endogenous growth models and evolutionary structural models.

Particular attention is given to an economic historical model combined with a spatial theoretical framework of regional trajectories of growth. The model is based upon complementarities around innovations forming development blocks that are driving processes of structural change.

Thus, the interplay between innovations, economic transformation and economic growth is studied with an emphasis on major carrier branches both historically and in contemporary times. Innovations are analysed in relation to variations over time in, e.g., relative prices, entrepreneurial activity, investments, labour demand and employment. It is shown how this, at an aggregated level, shows up in phases of spatial convergence and divergence, respectively.

Furthermore, factors governing the diffusion of innovations - including the interplay between economic and institutional change - are studied. In this context the economics of spatial clustering and localised externalities is central. A related aspect is how clusters and regions contribute to the characteristics of national technological shifts and economic growth.

Course code: EKHM22

How innovations occur is the issue of this course. Which are the social, institutional and economic conditions that foster their emergence? Which is the role of economic incentives and of culture for the ability and propensity of individuals to engage in innovation?

The estimation of innovation raises several problems of measurement and about the use of typology. A basic distinction is made between innovations that come up with something entirely new, such as radical or horizontal innovations, and innovations that improve something already in use, labelled incremental or vertical innovations. Different methodologies are used for the collection of data on innovations. Sometimes proxies or substitute measures, such as patents and investments in research and development (R&D), are used. The meaning and properties of these methodological problems are examined.

The course also studies certain aspects of innovations, for example: their distribution on small, middle-sized, and big firms as well as on firms of different ages and sectors; the classification of their origin, the type of knowledge needed for their realization, the time needed for their development, the character and extent of collaboration they need, the character and amount of public support provided. Some of these aspects are typically related to national innovation systems (NIS), a concept for comparative analysis of innovative performance.

Course code: EKHM32 | Download curriculum

The course presents the student with research methods used within the social sciences in general, and within economic history specifically. The course will carefully deal with the importance of source criticism to any well-planned research. It will then, through a detailed examination of various quantitative and qualitative methods, discuss the validity of these methods to various research questions and data. The overarching goal of the course is to provide students with the tools necessary to prepare a well-structured research assignment. 

Course code: EKHM73 | Download curriculum

Modern economic growth has been sustained over two centuries but will it remain sustainable? Environmental problems, in particular climate change, may cause backlash with severe consequences for human civilization.

With the widening of modern economic growth to low-income countries, such as China and India, this dismal outlook seems substantiated. However, according to one theory, transformations of industrial economies to service economies reduce the exploitation of natural resources and environmental damage. Other theories have confidence in technological change that, for example, will develop renewable and sustainable energy sources.

This course puts these and related theories into the perspective of the long-term evidence. Particular emphasis is laid on the present state of the arts as regards the economics of energy technology as well as the institutional incentives and constraints for innovation in this field.

Course code: EKHM33 | Download curriculum

Entrepreneurial activity is basically about finding innovations and managing their commercialisation. This is a highly organized activity within the modern large-scale enterprise, carried out by research laboratories, development sections and so forth. However, the individual entrepreneur and small-scale business firm often have a particularly dynamic role in innovation.

Today, it is widely accepted that entrepreneurship and small businesses contribute to societal development and economic growth. One part of the course focuses on macro level aspects such as patterns of the sectorial distribution of small businesses and the role of financial systems for their emergence and performance. Another concentrates on the micro level with case studies. The key elements of the entrepreneurial process are studied, such as the recognition of business opportunities, and the mobilization of resources in order to exploit opportunities in a market.

Course code: EKHM26

Elective courses

Below are listed those electives that primarily can be included in the degree from this programme. The timing of the elective courses differs somewhat from year to year and the details are laid out at the introductory week of the programme. You study around seven optional courses during the programme.

This course provides knowledge about how and why organisations change. It deals in particular with techniques for intervention in organisations used by managers and consultants. Studied are both descriptive approaches for the understanding of change and development, as well as more normative problems considering the information of those concerned by organizational change. The course is given during the second part of the autumn semester.

Course code: BUSN41 | Download curriculum

The course takes an interpretive perspective of strategic change, organizational culture, identity and leadership and addresses the role of meanings, values, symbolism and identity as crucial elements in organizational life, including corporate change and leadership. Communication and the expression, negotiation and translation of ideas, beliefs and understandings are seen as key elements in making organizations work and in managerial action.

Course code: BUSN45 | Download curriculum

This course introduces major themes in economic history and how these have been approached in research. Explorative methodologies versus hypothesis testing are discussed. It is studied how data are obtained, analysed and interpreted by researchers. Basic concepts of quantitative analysis are introduced and applied in exercises. The course is given during first half of the autumn semester and is recommended for first-year students.

Course code: EKHM20 | Download curriculum

This course studies historical processes of growth, convergence and divergence in the global economy over the past two centuries. Two different approaches are applied. One considers theories of economic growth, about how production is generated by capital and labour and the level of technology. The other takes the perspective of the international economy and studies international trade, migration, and movements of capital. The course is given during the first half of spring semester and is recommended for first-year students.

Course code: EKHM43 | Download curriculum

This course studies the relations between institutions, modern economic growth, and equality. Problems in the world of today are taken as a point of departure for a historical analysis that covers countries and regions in different parts of the world. Four themes are focussed. One is about the emergence of institutions such as property rights and markets, and their role for economic growth. The second is about the importance of the distribution of resources for institutional development. The third is about the importance of the growth of knowledge and education for the creation of equality of opportunity. The fourth is about the emergence of the modern welfare state as well as current challenges to its future. The course is given during the first half of spring semester and is recommended for first or second-year students.

Course code: EKHM42 | Download curriculum

This course deals with the interplay between population and living standards in a long-term perspective. It focuses on three broader themes.

In the first, different models of the preindustrial economic demographic system are studied, and the legacy of these models (e.g. Malthusianism) and their relevance today is assessed. Different demographic indicators of living standards, such as life expectancy, infant mortality and demographic responses to economic fluctuations, are discussed and compared with other well-being indicators in an assessment of the long-term global development of standard of living.

The second theme deals with the importance of population dynamics, especially fluctuations in fertility, and thus cohort size, on living standards in industrial society.

The third theme focuses on the role of families and households in providing welfare and security of its members. Both the development over time and global comparisons are central in this theme. The course is given during the second half of autumn semester and is recommended for first or second-year students.

Course code: EKHM30 | Download curriculum

An internship could be accounted for course credits if the student presents a report about the activity and discusses its relevance for the aims of the programme. It is independent from the university’s teaching and normally the student should independently find and apply for the internship. The length of the internship should correspond to at least two months full-time work. The provider of the internship could be of different kind but could normally be in the categories government agency, intergovernmental or supranational organization, non-governmental organization, or a private firm.

Course code: EKHM50

This advanced level course in economic geography focuses on some of the most important socio-economic challenges that today’s cities, regions and nations face.

How does globalisation affect lives and livelihoods in particular places?
Why do some regions continue to grow and prosper, whereas other regions struggle with industrial restructuring?
What are the drivers of such changes and how can firms and regions cope with them?

These themes are analysed from different theoretical perspectives to examine the underlying forces that shape the trajectories and transformations of economic spaces.

Course code: SGEM21 | Download curriculum

The course provides an introduction to the rapidly growing field of GIS for students interested in applying GIS in their research or work. The course is interdisciplinary in scope and appropriate for students from a diversity of backgrounds. This would include students from the social sciences, the humanities, economics, sustainability and development studies as well as students from a range of other disciplinary and professional backgrounds.

The course introduces students to some key conceptual debates and developments in GIS, and it provides an introduction to the most important theories and practises of GIS. During the course, the students will learn about the potential applications of GIS within various fields of study.

Course code: SGEG50

This course focuses on some of the most important socio-economic challenges that urban and regional planning has to meet, and how these are addressed and dealt with in different planning contexts.

With the background in contemporary economic geography theory, these challenges are analysed, aiming at a deeper understanding of the underlying economic forces that impact the scope and directions in urban and regional planning.

Meetings with practitioners in the field of planning, through visits, guest seminars and excursions, are important elements to relate theory and practices.

Course code: SGEM23 | Download curriculum

Degree Project

During the final part of the spring semester students carry out an independent research task and writes a paper. The subject of the paper conforms to the chosen alternative of the programme.

This is a preliminary course list, and is intended as guidance only. The course list may be subject to change.