Conceptual framework for regional competitiveness

Budd, Leslie and Hirmis, Amer K. (2004). Conceptual framework for regional competitiveness. Regional Studies, 38(9) pp. 1015–1028.



The concept of territorial competitiveness has gained ground in academic, policy and practitioner circles. In particular, urban competitiveness has generated a large literature. However, there is a danger that competitiveness at a territorial level becomes a conceptual chimera. The essential problem is that territorially based actors and agencies seek to position and maintain the utility of their regions and subregions by reference to a set of measures and indicators that are conceptually suspect and often empirically weak. The degree to which regions compete depends on a manifold set of factors. The paper proposes a conceptual framework for regional competitiveness based on combining the competitive advantage of firms and the comparative advantage of a regional economy. The conceptual transmission mechanism to regional competitiveness combines Liebenstein's theory of 'X-inefficiency' and agglomeration economies. The paper begins with a review of competitiveness and its literature. It then investigates the regional balance of payment constraint in the absence of a real regional exchange rate. In conclusion, it asks whether the conceptual approach was appropriate for a study of benchmarking indicators for the London region in comparison with other metropolises.

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