Regional Competitiveness and Smart Specialization in Europe

Regional Competitiveness and Smart Specialization in Europe

Place-based Development in International Economic Networks

New Horizons in Regional Science series

Mark Thissen, Frank van Oort, Dario Diodato and Arjan Ruijs

Regions economically differ from each other – they compete in different products and geographical spaces, exhibit different strengths and weaknesses, and provide different possibilities for growth and development. What fosters growth in one region may hamper it in another. This highly original book presents an accessible methodology for identifying competitors and their particular circumstances in Europe, discusses regional competitiveness from a conceptual perspective and explores both past and future regional development policies in Europe.

Chapter 1: Introduction

Mark Thissen, Frank van Oort, Dario Diodato and Arjan Ruijs

Subjects: economics and finance, industrial economics, regional economics, geography, economic geography, urban and regional studies, clusters, regional economics

Extract

Regions differ from each other economically. They compete in different products and geographical spaces, they exhibit different strengths and weaknesses, and they provide different possibilities for growth and development. What fosters growth in one region, hampers it in another. Regional economic development policy should therefore be based on a ‘one-size-fits-one’ approach and is not particularly helped by a ‘one-size-fits-all’ strategy propagated by economists in favour of a place-neutral strategy. Such place-based policies should be tailored to the specific regional context for firms and people to accomplish economic growth and higher welfare. This book confirms that the often presumed contradiction of place-based and place-neutral development strategies (see, for example, Barca et al., 2012) should be nuanced in a European context: place-based smart specialization and regional development can reinforce both place-neutral as well as place-specific economic processes. The simultaneous importance of location and network relations in regional economic development is emphasized by the wealth of heterogeneity in the specific trade relations of every region, the resulting region-specific geographical markets on which firms from different regions compete, and the various dynamic competitive relations that are analysed in this book.