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Competitiveness of Regions from an Evolutionary Perspective

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  • Ron Boschma

Abstract

Boschma R. A. (2004) Competitiveness of regions from an evolutionary perspective, Regional Studies38, 993-1006. Do regions compete, as firms do? How does one deal with the fact that regions, unlike organizations, are entities that do not act? Does it make sense to talk about the ability of regions to generate new variety? This paper aims to address these questions from an evolutionary perspective. It is meaningful to talk about regional competitiveness when the region affects the performances of local firms to a considerable degree. This is especially true when the competitiveness of a region depends on intangible, non- tradable assets based on a knowledge and competence base embedded in a particular institutional setting that are reproduced and modified through the actions and repeated interactions of actors. Although regions are increasingly becoming collective players actively responding to an increasing exposure to extra-regional competition, the paper explains why there are serious limits in enhancing the competitiveness of regions. By doing so, it questions the usefulness of benchmarking practices with the purpose of improving regional competitiveness: there exists no 'optimal' development model, it is difficult to copy or imitate a successful model from elsewhere, and new trajectories often emerge spontaneously and unexpectedly in space.Boschma R. A. (2004) La competitivite regionale du point de vue evolutionniste, Regional Studies38, 993-1006. Les regions, est-ce qu'elles se font concurrence, comme le font les entreprises? Comment tenir compte du fait que les regions, a la difference des etablissements, constituent des entites qui n'agissent pas? A quoi sert de discuter de la capacite des regions a engendrer de nouvelles idees? Cet article cherche a aborder ces questions-la d'un point de vue evolutionniste. Il vaut la peine de discuter de la competitivite regionale au moment ou la region influe sensiblement sur la performance des entreprises locales. Cela est vrai notamment lorsque la competitivite regionale depend des ressources incorporelles, non-commercialisables fondees sur une connaissance et une competence ancrees dans un contexte institutionnel particulier, et qui sont reproduites et modifiees a l'aide des actions et des interactions renouvelees des acteurs. Bien que les regions aient de plus en plus l'esprit d'equipe, reagissant serieusement au contact croissant a la concurrence extraregionale, cet article cherche a expliquer pourquoi l'amelioration de la competitivite regionale a d'importantes limites. De cette facon, on remet en question l'emploi des points de repere afin d'ameliorer la competitivite regionale: il n'existe pas de modele de developpement 'optimal', il est difficile de copier ou d'imiter un modele reussi emprunte, et de nouvelles trajectoires se font souvent jour spontanement et a l'improviste sur le plan geographique.Boschma R. A. (2004) Die Konkurrenzfahigkeit von Regionen aus der Perspektive der Evolution, Regional Studies38, 993-1006. Konkurrieren Regionen miteinander wie Geschaftsfirmen? Wie soll man mit der Tatsache fertig werden, dass Regionen, im Gegensatz zu Organisationen, Einheiten sind, die nicht handeln? Hat es Sinn, uber die Fahigkeit von Regionen zu sprechen, neue Vielfalt zu entwickeln? Dieser Aufsatz beabsichtigt, diese Fragen aus evolutionarer Sicht anzugehen. Es hat Sinn, uber regionale Konkurrenzfahigkeit zu sprechen, wenn die Region die Leistung ortsansassiger Firmen in betrachtlichem Umfang beeinflusst. Dies ist besonders so, wenn die Konkurrenzfahigkeit einer Region von unbestimmbaren, nicht verkauflichen Vermogenswerten abhangt, die auf einer Fachwissens-und Fahigkeitsgrundlage beruhen, die in einen besonderen institutionellen Rahmen eingebettet auftreten, und durch Einsatz und wiederholte Zusammenarbeit von Spielern neu inszeniert und abgewandelt werden. Obschon Regionen zunehmend zu Spielerkollektiven werden, die zunehmend von ausserhalb der Region kommendem Wettbewerb ausgesetzt sind und aktiv darauf reagieren, erklart der Aufsatz, warum es ernst zu nehmende Grenzen fur die Anhebung der Konkurrenzfahigkeit einer Region gibt. Damit wird die Nutzlichkeit der Normenpraxis zum Zwecke der Anhebung regionaler Konkurrenzfahigkeit in Frage gestellt: es gibt kein 'optimales' Entwicklungsmodell; es ist schwierig, anderorts erfolgreiche Modelle nachzuahmen oder zu kopieren, und neue Flugbahnen treten oft spontan und unerwartet im Raume auf.Boschma R. A. (2004) La competitividad de las regiones desde un punto de vista evolutivo, Regional Studies38, 993-1006. Compiten las regiones de la misma forma que lo hacen las empresas? Como debe uno tratar el hecho de que las regiones, a diferencia de las organizaciones, son entidades que no actuan? Tiene sentido hablar sobre la capacidad de las regiones para generar nuevas diversidades? El objetivo de este articulo es abordar estas cuestiones desde un punto de vista evolutivo. Hablar de competitividad regional tiene sentido cuando una region afecta el rendimiento de las empresas locales de forma considerable. Esto es especialmente cierto en aquellos casos en los que la competitividad de una region depende de activos que son intangibles y no- comercializables basados en una base de conocimiento y competencia que esta incrustada en un contexto institucional particular, los cuales se reproducen y se modifican mediante las acciones y las interacciones repetidas de los actores. Aunque las regiones se estan convirtiendo cada vez mas en jugadores colectivos que responden activamente a una creciente exposicion a la competicion extra-regional, el articulo explica por que existen serias limitaciones a la hora de optimizar la competitividad de las regiones. Cuestionamos asi el grado de utilidad de las practicas comparativas que tienen el proposito de mejorar la competitividad regional: no existe ningun modelo 'optimo' de desarrollo, resulta dificil copiar o imitar un modelo que ha dado buenos resultados en otros contextos, y nuevas trayectorias emergen a menudo de forma espontanea e inesperadamente de forma espontanea.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Regional Studies.

Volume (Year): 38 (2004)
Issue (Month): 9 ()
Pages: 1001-1014

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Handle: RePEc:taf:regstd:v:38:y:2004:i:9:p:1001-1014

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Related research

Keywords: Evolutionary economics; Economic geography; Regional competitiveness; Benchmarking; Lock- in; Institutions;

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