New Horizons in Regional Science series
Edited by Philip Cooke, Mario Davide Parrilli and José Luis Curbelo
Chapter 4: Territorial Benchmarking Methodology: The Need to Identify Reference Regions
Mikel Navarro Arancegui, Juan José Gibaja Martíns, Susana Franco Rodríguez and Asier Murciego Alonso 1. INTRODUCTION TO REGIONAL BENCHMARKING The decisive role played by innovation in economic growth, productivity and competitiveness is widely recognised (Lundvall, 1992; Nelson, 1992; Nelson and Rosenberg, 1993; Verspagen, 1995; Archibugi and Michie, 1998). There is also common agreement that it is not sufficient to understand innovation and competitiveness as the fruits of the actions of individual agents; rather, they are social processes. Hence, the actions of innovation agents cannot be separated from the system of innovation in which they operate (Rothwell, 1994). Initially the literature focused on national and sector-based/technological systems, but later, influenced by economic geography, it also turned its attention to the regional sphere. Soon, the publication about regional innovation systems surpassed those that addressed national and sector-based/technological systems (Cooke, 1998; Carlsson et al., 2002). This reflects the growing acceptance that the key factors impacting competitiveness and innovation are largely determined systemically and at the regional level (Porter, 2003). All this has resulted in a confluence of industrial, technological and regional policies around competitiveness and innovation and on a shift from national to regional areas of application (Oughton et al., 2002). Yet while innovation can be regarded as a relevant competitiveness strategy for all regions (Asheim et al., 2007), a given region should not develop carbon copies of policies designed and used in other regions. The core competitive strategy of a region should establish a unique value proposition, which is likely...
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