Dr. Maximilian Benner

Senior post-doctoral researcher at the Department of Geography and Regional Research, University of Vienna

Research interests

  • Regional innovation policy
  • European regional policy (e.g., cohesion policy, smart specialization)
  • Institutional and evolutionary economic geography
  • EU enlargement and neighborhood countries (e.g., Israel, Jordan, Tunisia)

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    ORCID: 0000-0003-1386-808X

  • Maximilian Benner is an economist and economic geographer with a doctorate in geography. As a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Vienna, he focuses on innovation-based regional development particularly within the context of EU policies (e.g., cohesion policy, smart specialization, enlargement and neighborhood policies). His conceptual research interests include institutional and evolutionary economic geography and specifically the interplay between agency, institutional context, and policy processes. Maximilian Benner puts an empirical focus on Austria, Israel, Jordan, Tunisia, and the Western Balkans.

    Prior to joining the University of Vienna, he worked at the European Commission’s Joint Research Center in Seville and at Heidelberg University. In addition, he gained extensive consulting experience on topics such as cluster promotion and agricultural innovation support in rural regions in Tunisia or export promotion in Cyprus. Currently Maximilian Benner analyzes the evolution of new sectors in regions in Israel under the project “Industrial-institutional evolution in regional economies” funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF).

    Maximilian Benner teaches courses in theoretical and applied economic geography at the University of Vienna (e.g., local and regional economic development, innovation policy, economic geography of South East Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa). Previously, he has taught courses on economic geography and regional development at Heidelberg University, Webster Vienna Private University, Hafen City University Hamburg, and the University of Klagenfurt.


    Current research project

  • "Industrial-institutional co-evolution in regional economies" (Lise Meitner grant of the Austrian Science Fund FWF) at the Department of Geography and Regional Research, University of Vienna, 2021-2023, Link

  • Current teaching

  • Courses in economic geography at the University of Vienna, Link

  • Articles in refereed journals

  • Lehmann, T., Benner, M., Kapo, A. (2022). Institutional asymmetries in a low-coordination economy: The smart specialization paradox in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Innovation: The European Journal of Social Science Research, Download
  • Benner, M. (2022). An institutionalist perspective on smart specialization: Towards a political economy of regional innovation policy. Science and Public Policy, Download
  • Reiner, C., Benner, M. (2022). Cooperation bias in regional policy: Is competition neglected? Annals of Regional Science, Download
  • Giustolisi, A., Benner, M., Trippl, M. (2022). Smart specialisation strategies: Towards an outward-looking approach. European Planning Studies, Download
  • Benner, M. (2022). Revisiting path-as-process: Agency in a discontinuity-development model. European Planning Studies, Download
  • Benner, M. (2022). A tale of sky and desert: Translation and imaginaries in transnational windows of institutional opportunity. Geoforum 128, 181-191, Download
  • Benner, M. (2021). Retheorizing industrial-institutional coevolution: A multidimensional perspective. Regional Studies, Download
  • Haddad, C., Benner, M. (2021). Situating innovation policy in Mediterranean Arab countries: A research agenda for context sensitivity. Research Policy 50 (7), 104273, Download
  • Benner, M. (2020). Six additional questions about smart specialization: Implications for regional innovation policy 4.0. European Planning Studies 28 (8), 1667-1684, Download
  • Benner, M. (2020). Mitigating human agency in regional development: The behavioural side of policy processes. Regional Studies, Regional Science 7 (1), 164-182, Download
  • Benner, M. (2020). The decline of tourist destinations: An evolutionary perspective on overtourism. Sustainability 12 (9), 3653, Download
  • Benner, M. (2020). Overcoming overtourism in Europe: Towards an institutional-behavioral research agenda. Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftsgeographie 64 (2), 74-87, Download
  • Benner, M. (2020). The spatial evolution-institution link and its challenges for regional policy. European Planning Studies 28 (12), 2428-2446, Download
  • Benner, M. (2020). Tourism in the context of smart specialization: The example of Montenegro. Current Issues in Tourism 23 (21), 2624-2630, Download
  • Benner, M. (2019). Smart specialization and institutional context: The role of institutional discovery, change and leapfrogging. European Planning Studies 27 (9), 1791-1810, Download
  • Benner, M. (2019). Industrial policy in the EU and its neighbourhood: Learning from policy experimentation. Economies 7 (2), 44, Download
  • Benner, M. (2017). From clusters to smart specialization: Tourism in institution-sensitive regional development policies. Economies 5 (3), 26, Download
  • Lehmann, T., Benner, M. (2015). Cluster policy in the light of institutional context - A comparative study of transition countries. Administrative Sciences 5 (4), 188-212, Download
  • Benner, M. (2014). From smart specialisation to smart experimentation: Building a new theoretical framework for regional policy of the European Union. Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftsgeographie 58 (1), 33-49, Download

  • Book chapters

  • Benner, M. (2020). Cluster policy in Tunisia: From institutional voids to smart specialization. In Gutowski, A., Hassan, N.M., Knedlik, T., Ngo Tong, C.M., Wohlmuth, K. (Eds.), Science, technology and innovation policies for inclusive growth in Africa: Human skills development and country cases. African Development Perspectives Yearbook, Vol. 21. Münster: LIT: 319-346
  • Benner, M. (2017). Smart specialisation and cluster emergence: Building blocks for evolutionary regional policies. In Fornahl, D., Hassink, R. (Eds.), The life cycle of clusters: A policy perspective. Camberley: Edward Elgar: 151-172, Link
  • Benner, M. (2017). The legacy of Sidi Bouzid: Overcoming spatial inequalities in Tunisia. In Krížek, D., Záhorík, J. (Eds.), Beyond the 'Arab Spring' in North Africa: Macro and micro perspectives. Lanham: Lexington: 47-65, Link
  • Benner, M. (2015). Europa und der Maghreb: Von der Nachbarschaft zur Wirtschaftspartnerschaft. In Neuss, Beate, Nötzold, Antje (Eds.), The Southern Mediterranean: Challenges to the European foreign and security policy. Baden-Baden: Nomos: 57-82

  • Monographs

  • Benner, M. (2020). A new Arab social contract? Institutional perspectives for economic reform in Arab countries. Cham: Springer, Link
  • Benner, M. (2012). Clusterpolitik: Wege zur Verknüpfung von Theorie und politischer Umsetzung. Münster: LIT

  • Technical reports

  • Radovanovic, N., Benner, M. (2019). Smart specialisation and the wider innovation policy context in the Western Balkans. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union, Download

  • Consulting studies

  • Batstone, S., Benner, M., Meyn, M. (2016). Study on improving Cyprus' export performance. Study presented to the European Commission, DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion (unpublished)
  • Benner, M., Hajaiej, M., Boudhrioua, N. (2016). Étude de référence pour les centres d’innovations vertes pour le secteur agro-alimentaire : Rapport du pays: Tunisie. Study presented to GIZ (unpublished)

  • Others (selection)

  • Benner, M., Haddad, C. (2020). Innovation policy in North Africa: The need for critical approaches. In Wohlmuth, K. (Ed.). Festschrift of the Research Group on African Development Perspectives Yearbook at the occasion of thirty years (1989-2019) of the African Development Perspectives Yearbook – Impacts on Policy Reforms in Africa. Bremen: University of Bremen: 86-89, Download
  • Benner, M. (2014). Decentralised regional development policy in Tunisia: A new beginning after the "Arab Spring"? International Reports 06/2014: 31-50, Download
  • Benner, M. (2012). Cluster policy as a development strategy: case studies from the Middle East and North Africa. University of Lüneburg Working Paper Series in Economics No 255, December 2012, Download
  • Benner, M. (2012). Cluster policy: Principles and a toolbox. SPACES online, Vol. 10, Issue 2012-01. Toronto and Heidelberg: SPACES Online, Download
  • Benner, M. (2011). How export-led growth can lead to take-off. University of Lüneburg Working Paper Series in Economics No 222, December 2011, Download
  • Benner, M. (2009). What do we know about clusters? In search of effective cluster policies. SPACES online, Vol. 7, Issue 2009-04. Toronto and Heidelberg: SPACES Online, Download

  • Book reviews

  • Benner, M. (2022). Huggins, R., Thompson, P., A behavioral theory of economic development: The uneven evolution of cities and regions. Eurasian Geography and Economics, DOI: 10.1080/15387216.2022.2076711
  • Benner, M. (2021). Klingholz, R., Sütterlin, S., Kaps, A., Hinz, C., Schnell, bezahlbar, nachhaltig: Wie in Afrika große Entwicklungssprünge möglich werden. In Knedlik, T., Nour, S.S.O.M., Ugulu, A.I., Wohlmuth, K. (Eds.), Sustainable development goal nine and African development – challenges and opportunities. Zürich: LIT: 502-506
  • Benner, M. (2017). Dannenberg, P., Kulke, E. (Eds.), Economic development in rural areas: Functional and multifunctional approaches. Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftsgeographie 61 (2), 115
  • Benner, M. (2014). Wood, A., Roberts, S., Economic geography: Places, networks and flows. Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftsgeographie 58 (1), 66-67

  • Editorships

  • Special issue "Regional development and policy in the EU neighborhood countries". Economies, 2020, Link
  • Special issue "Inclusive development — what does it mean for regions and cities?" Administrative Sciences, 2017, Link
  • Special issue "Cluster policy: Institutional and international perspectives". Administrative Sciences, 2015/2017 Link

  • Maximilian Benner, e-Mail: post(a)maximilian-benner.eu
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