Networks, Space and Competitiveness

Networks, Space and Competitiveness

Evolving Challenges for Sustainable Growth

Edited by Roberta Capello and Tomaz Ponce Dentinho

The expert contributors illustrate that sources of regional competitiveness are strongly linked with spatially observable yet increasingly flexible realities, and include building advanced and efficient transport, communications and energy networks, changing urban and rural landscapes, and creating strategic and forward-looking competitiveness policies. They investigate long-term interactions between regional competitiveness and urban mobility, as well as the connections that link global sustainability with local technological and institutional innovations, and the intrinsic diversity of spatially rooted innovation processes. A prospective analysis on networks and innovation infrastructure is presented, global environmental issues such as climate change and energy are explored, and new policy perspectives – relevant world-wide – are prescribed.

Chapter 9: Collective efficiency strategies: a regional development policy contribution for competitiveness enhancement

Rui Nuno Baleiras

Subjects: economics and finance, regional economics, urban and regional studies, regional economics


In the period from 2005 to 2009 Portugal designed and launched an innovative family of four policy instruments based on the collective efficiency concept. They are known as ‘collective efficiency strategies’ (CES). This chapter aims at introducing the reader to these tools together with the relevant theoretical background. We believe the challenges that motivated their conception are common to many other countries where no similar tools are yet available. Hence, the explanations herein may provide a useful inspiration to develop related instruments elsewhere. The chapter reflects the author’s policy-making experience during that period. This enables the author to share with readers an insider’s perspective of the underlying motivation and politico-economic constraints that normally is not present in an economics text. In doing so, some biases are probably unavoidable but they will be kept to a minimum. The political motivation to intervene in the regional development field stemmed from an awareness of acute structural challenges in the Portuguese economy. This awareness included the perception of some of the most important underlying causes. Market and government failures were preventing automatic adjustment mechanisms from working effectively to correct the imbalances. It will become clear in the next section that those challenges demanded important behavioural changes on the part of all economic agents, including the government. A successful policy approach could not be limited strictly to the regional development ‘department’. Indeed, serious coordinated action across line policies with significant territorial impact, such as education, justice and infrastructure, was needed. However, given the scope of this book, the discussion will be limited to strict regional development policy action.

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