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Edited by Charlie Karlsson, Martin Andersson and Lina Bjerke

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Jitendra Parajuli and Kingsley E. Haynes

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Veronique Schutjens, Nardo de Vries and Anne Risselada

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Jianfa Shen

Inter-city competition has intensified and entrepreneurial regimes have become more popular for urban governance in the age of globalization. It is generally assumed that cities are in competition resulting in a zero-sum game. With a few exceptions, inter-city competition is considered a negative phenomenon, which can affect both cities and their wider regions negatively. But there is inadequate explanation for the emergence of such keen competition or solutions to such a situation. Indeed, cities often have close demographic, social and economic relations. They may also cooperate to enhance the competitive advantage of both cities. Currently there is no integrated study on inter-city competition and cooperation within a region. Furthermore, previous studies on inter-city competition and cooperation have focused on the initiatives led by city governments, whilst ignoring social relations and market-based economic relations. This chapter provides a holistic perspective in the examination of inter-city competition and cooperation that accounts for inter-city social, economic and governmental relations. The relations between Hong Kong and Shenzhen provide a good case for detailed study of inter-city competition and cooperation under regionalization and globalization. The chapter attempts to address a number of questions relating to inter-city competition and cooperation by differentiating inter-city relations at the macro level and firm level and separating the roles of firms and the city governments. This is achieved by reviewing the development of Hong Kong and Shenzhen and developing a conceptual framework to analyse the inter-city relationships. From this analysis implications for policy and future development are produced.

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Imre Lengyel

During the last few years research in regional economics has shown an eager interest in regional competitiveness, with policymakers also taking an interest in measuring and improving it. However, since the notion of regional competitiveness can be seen as defining that of economic growth, one can often observe that proposals for improved competitiveness combine traditional economic policy derived from endogenous growth theories with regional policies, primarily place-based economic development strategies. Therefore, there is a great need for synthesizing regional competitiveness and endogenous growth theories as well as providing an empirical framework for policy-oriented analyses. This chapter examines how regional competitiveness may be defined and conceptualized. It then concentrates on existing models of competitiveness and proposes a renewed pyramid model of regional competitiveness as a synthesis of endogenous regional growth theories. The competitiveness of 93 NUTS 3 level regions of four Central European countries (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia) are empirically examined with the help of the pyramid model and a regional competitiveness function based on this model. This analysis is of considerable importance in the Central European post-socialist countries due to the gap in competitiveness that exists within the European Union between longstanding members and those countries joining in 2004.

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Ron Martin and Peter Sunley

As is often the case with new ideas, both the notion of ‘regional competitiveness’ and regional economic ‘resilience’ have found currency among those interested in policy. Alongside the competitiveness concept, resilience has emerged as an imperative ‘whose time has come’ in policy debates around localities, cities and regions, propelling a new discourse of ‘constructing’ or ‘building’ regional and urban economic resilience. Indices of local and regional resilience have been compiled, akin to those for competitiveness. This chapter explores the issues that need to be meaningfully addressed before the concepts of local and regional resilience can be used in a productive manner within policy agendas and practices. Firstly there is a need for a clear definition, conceptualization and understanding of precisely what it is that the concept is trying to foster. In particular, there is as yet no theory of regional economic resilience, and relatively little discussion of how the notion relates to concepts such as regional competitiveness. Also, there is the issue of what determines the resilience of a regional or local economy: what is it that makes a local economy more or less resilient? Given these and other concerns, some economic geographers have questioned the applicability and relevance of the concept in regional and urban settings, and queried whether it adds anything new to our existing theoretical and explanatory schemas. These are all issues that need discussion and resolution before we can talk meaningfully about ‘building’ local and regional resilience.

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Ugo Fratesi

The notion of competitiveness is widely used in economics and in regional sciences. Policymakers are also embracing and employing the concept of competitiveness as a principal objective of policies. There is general agreement that the definition of the competitiveness which matters in today’s economy is no longer a static concept, but rather an intrinsically dynamic one which stems from the renewal of advantage over time in order to maintain it through various types of innovation. Despite this, the dynamics of regional competitiveness are still relatively unexplored. There is insufficient awareness of how those factors associated with competitiveness are normally different not only in their essential characteristics, but also in how they deploy their effects over time. This implies that the study of regional competitiveness would benefit from a deeper understanding of how the regional economy works and the manner in which what happens in a node of the regional economy deploys its effects through second- and third-order impacts, often recursively, before its full impact can be detected. This is especially important for the policymakers expecting to achieve an outcome after a policy initiative, who are rarely aware of the time impact of policies. To show how the dynamics of regional competitiveness can be modelled using an intrinsically dynamic methodology, this chapter uses the one of the dynamic systems. In order to examine the evidence for the dynamic approach, example simulations are used to show how policies can achieve different impacts depending on the context in which they are applied. Conclusions for the use of this approach are then considered.

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Edward J. Malecki

For many business leaders and policymakers, innovation and knowledge typify the characteristics of a knowledge economy and represent areas in which places compete. Rankings and comparisons among national and regional economies are now common. This chapter reviews the research on competitiveness, and demonstrates that knowledge, innovation and innovative capability are the core of economic competitiveness. The global innovation networks that enable creativity and innovation are formed in – and are attracted to – some places and not others. Although there are multiple dimensions of competitiveness, innovation is the fundamental dimension, comprised of local, global and virtual networks and systems of innovation.

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Jan Fagerberg and Martin Srholec

How should differences in regional economic performance be explained? This chapter examines the different approaches to this question, including their empirical underpinnings, which have developed in the scholarly literature, with particular emphasis on identifying issues that continue to be of central importance for scholars in the field today. It is noted, however, that as far as theories and perspectives are concerned, the research area under scrutiny here is a highly porous one. In fact, the theoretical perspectives guiding researchers in this area usually apply to other spatial levels as well. For this reason, a very sharp distinction between the bodies of knowledge on, for instance, national and regional economic performance may not be very fruitful. The chapter presents an overview of how theoretical and applied work of relevance for the analysis of regional economic performance has evolved to its present stance. This leads to the identification of two central factors for regional economic performance, that is, capability building and specialization. Issues concerned with the availability of relevant data for exploring the relationships between these factors and economic development are then considered. The analysis shows that regional economic performance and capability building does indeed go hand in hand, while the evidence regarding the impact of specialization is more mixed. The chapter then concludes by considering lessons and implications for policy and future research.