What inhibits industry emergence? The Cape Wind project and beyond
While institutional analysts have made strides in understanding industry emergence, we know little about why some nascent industries do not emerge. This study investigates what inhibits industry emergence and how. Drawing on the Cape Wind project (2001-2014), America's first offshore wind energy project proposal, this study shows that a systemic interplay of regulatory, social, technological, economic, and political factors delayed project development and inhibited industry emergence. The regulatory regime and the public were disengaged in their attention, interest, and values during and beyond the permitting process. While regulators focused on scientific issues requiring stable problem-solving methods, the public focused on social justice issues requiring emergent methods. The structural disengagement left the project in a quagmire of contestation despite regulatory success. This study contributes to economic sociology by identifying the factors and mechanisms that inhibit industry emergence. It enriches institutional studies by demonstrating the duality of structure and values in enabling actions and inducing outcomes. It contributes to innovation studies by integrating structure with content through a typology of four kinds of innovation.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Boston University