Geografie 2023, 128, 153-177

Institutional thickness of a shrinkage region with discontinuous development in a border periphery in Czechia

Jan SvobodaID, Marek KomárekID, Pavel ChromýID

Charles University, Faculty of Science, Department of Social Geography and Regional Development, Prague, Czechia

Received February 2022
Accepted July 2022

The article examines the effects of the social networks of a range of actors on the local development of municipalities located in Czech peripheral border regions. Its main goals are to shed light on and understand the role of social interactions in the development activities of individual municipalities in border-region peripheries and reveal the spatial differentiation of these municipalities. The borderland Cheb district (western Bohemia) is affected by the shrinkage process, and the concept of institutional thickness is used as the explanatory framework. One of the key conclusions is that the more disadvantages there are, the more important institutional thickness is as a development factor. The research data are drawn from 24 semi-structured interviews with the mayors of municipalities that within the system of state administration are municipalities without extended powers. The research also confirmed the diversity of individuals holding the position of mayor and the differences in the specific role mayors play in local development, as well as how important it is for municipalities to be active in microregional associations. It also showed that the internal differentiation of development opportunities and the formation of formal and informal ties are also determined by the quality of horizontal and vertical cooperation.


The research was funded by Charles University, project SVV No. 260566.


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