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Evaluations of Regional Competitiveness: Making a Case for Case Studies


  • Barkley, David L.

    (U Center for Economic Development, Clemson U)


This paper provides an overview of the concepts of regional competitiveness, including definitions, conceptual models, measurements, and the benefits and shortcomings of following a strategy to enhance competitiveness. Next, city-region rankings and indices of competitiveness are reviewed and the usefulness of these studies is summarized. Potential roles for regional scientists for improving (1) evaluations of regional competitiveness and (2) applications of evaluations to regional development policy are suggested. Recommendations are made regarding the need for additional case study research by regional scientists in order to improve the quality and relevance of information used by public policy makers. Quality case studies also will enhance the roles of regional scientists in the policy process concerned with improving a region's prospects for economic growth and development.

Suggested Citation

  • Barkley, David L., 2008. "Evaluations of Regional Competitiveness: Making a Case for Case Studies," The Review of Regional Studies, Southern Regional Science Association, vol. 38(2), pages 121-143.
  • Handle: RePEc:rre:publsh:v:38:y:2008:i:2:p:121-43

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Smith, Stephen M., 2005. "Policy Research in the Review of Regional Studies," The Review of Regional Studies, Southern Regional Science Association, vol. 35(1), pages 1-7.
    2. Edward Malecki, 2004. "Jockeying for Position: What It Means and Why It Matters to Regional Development Policy When Places Compete," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(9), pages 1101-1120.
    3. Ziona Austrian, 2000. "Cluster Case Studies: The Marriage of Quantitative and Qualitative Information for Action," Economic Development Quarterly, , vol. 14(1), pages 97-110, February.
    4. Randall W. Eberts & George Erickcek & Jack Kleinhenz, 2006. "Dashboard indicators for the Northeast Ohio economy: prepared for the Fund for Our Economic Future," Working Paper 0605, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    5. Douglass C. North, 2005. "Introduction to Understanding the Process of Economic Change," Introductory Chapters,in: Understanding the Process of Economic Change Princeton University Press.
    6. Francis J. Greene & Paul Tracey & Marc Cowling, 2007. "Recasting the City into City-Regions: Place Promotion, Competitiveness Benchmarking and the Quest for Urban Supremacy," Growth and Change, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(1), pages 1-22.
    7. Camagni, Roberto, 2002. "On the concept of territorial competitiveness: sound or misleading?," ERSA conference papers ersa02p518, European Regional Science Association.
    8. Stephan J. Goetz & David Freshwater, 2001. "State-Level Determinants of Entrepreneurship and a Preliminary Measure of Entrepreneurial Climate," Economic Development Quarterly, , vol. 15(1), pages 58-70, February.
    9. Philip Mccann, 2007. "Observational Equivalence? Regional Studies and Regional Science," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(9), pages 1209-1222.
    10. Joseph Cortright & Heike Mayer, 2004. "Increasingly Rank: the Use and Misuse of Rankings in Economic Development," Economic Development Quarterly, , vol. 18(1), pages 34-39, February.
    11. David L. Barkley & Mark S. Henry, 1997. "Rural Industrial Development: To Cluster or Not to Cluster?," Review of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 19(2), pages 308-325.
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    Cited by:

    1. Woodward, Douglas P., 2012. "Presidential Address: Industry Location, Economic Development Incentives, and Clusters," The Review of Regional Studies, Southern Regional Science Association, vol. 42(1), pages 5-23, Spring.
    2. Julie A. Silva, 2013. "Rural Income Inequality in Mozambique: National Dynamics and Local Experiences?," The Review of Regional Studies, Southern Regional Science Association, vol. 43(1), pages 23-50, Summer.
    3. Isserman, Andrew M., 2010. "A Space Odyssey: The Future Is Not What It Used to Be--A Babyboomer's Travel Guide and Challenge to Young Explorers," The Review of Regional Studies, Southern Regional Science Association, vol. 40(2), pages 135-143.
    4. Edward Feser, 2013. "Isserman’s Impact," International Regional Science Review, , vol. 36(1), pages 44-68, January.

    More about this item


    Policy; Regional; Regional Development; Regions;

    JEL classification:

    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)
    • R58 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - Regional Development Planning and Policy


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