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 9: The dynamics of regional competitiveness

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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