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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