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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.
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Chapter 5: Revealed competition in European regions

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


As discussed earlier, competitive advantage is throughout Europe predominantly envisioned as a place-based (regional) investment strategy by European, national and regional policy-makers, providing optimal locational circumstances to attract mobile capital, knowledge and footloose firms (Basile et al., 2008). By looking at the actual competition between regions in terms of trade, we add the network dimension to this discussion. This can provide us with suggestions about the network determinacy of regional competitiveness – the main goal of this research project. We applied the regional competitiveness analysis to regional-sectoral high-potential combinations, so-called clusters. Cluster policies are present in practically all countries and regions in the European Union, initiated by either local, national or even European governments (Borras and Tsagdis, 2008). In local clusters, firms specialized in certain products and operating on the same market are located in proximity to each other.

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