Evolving Challenges for Sustainable Growth
Edited by Roberta Capello and Tomaz Ponce Dentinho
Chapter 9: Collective efficiency strategies: a regional development policy contribution for competitiveness enhancement
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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