What has happened to the economy in Styria over the past two decades could be described as a case history of regional recovery. If we limit ourselves to employment, we find the following overall situation: A massive crisis in the primary industry (first oil price shock of 1975) and the expiry of built-in stabilizers in approximately 1980 resulted in a sharp tumble in employment figures (second oil price shock). In 1981–1986, attempts were made to achieve stabilization by traditional tools, especially by loss compensation. In 1986-87, the traditional approach at last began to be reconsidered and the first structural reorganization schemes were introduced after it had finally dawned that expectations of economic recovery would not materialize. During 1991–1993, the main future-oriented concepts and organizational structures were developed, after which recovery set in. In 1995, Styria was finally on the fast track to recovery. If the current speed is sustained, it could be able to regain lost terrain (job creation rate in line with the Austrian average) in about five years. The time it took to reach this position must be seen as the typical time requirement for the recovery of a region. The true problem of any regional policy is the discrepancy between political legitimization and evolutionary structural change.
Erfolgreicher Strukturwandel in der Steiermark; Successful Structural Change in Styria
What has happened to the economy in Styria over the past two decades could be described as a case history of regional rehabilitation. Looking at employment only, we find a restructurization process drawn out over more than 30 years, at the temporary end of which there are more new jobs created in Styria than in any other of the Austrian Länder. The time it took for this achievement needs to be seen as the typical time requirement for reviving the economy of a region. The true problem of regional policy is the discrepancy between political legitimation and evolutionary structural change.
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