Handbook of Regions and Competitiveness
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Handbook of Regions and Competitiveness

Contemporary Theories and Perspectives on Economic Development

Edited by Robert Huggins and Piers Thompson

The aim of this Handbook is to take stock of regional competitiveness and complementary concepts as a means of presenting a state-of-the-art discussion of the contemporary theories, perspectives and empirical explanations that help make sense of the determinants of uneven development across regions. Drawing on an international field of leading scholars, the book is assembled and organized so that readers can first learn about the theoretical underpinnings of regional competitiveness and development theory, before moving on to deeper discussions of key factors and principal elements, the emergence of allied concepts, empirical applications, and the policy context.
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Chapter 8: Regional economic competition and place- based policies

Frank van Oort and Mark Thissen


Analysing regional competitiveness by benchmarking regions on various indicators is a common practice. However, such rankings of regions are not based on actual competition; instead, they compare a set of regions on various indicators. This chapter benchmarks regions using a measure for revealed competition based on product-specific spatial market overlap on firms’ export markets, on knowledge cooperation among scientists, and on the attraction of foreign direct investment (FDI). This analysis shows that this revealed competition is not only spatially different for these three types of competition, but that it is also region- and market-specific. This confronts policymakers with complicated place-based decisions concerning investments aimed at enhancing a region’s competitive position in Europe, which is far more complicated than suggested by existing benchmarking exercises. The chapter illustrates this with the example of the city of Utrecht, which is currently the most competitive region according to the European Regional Competitiveness Index.

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