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Constructing Regional Advantage and Smart Specialization: Comparison of Two European Policy Concepts

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  • Ron Boschma

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Abstract

This paper discusses two influential policy concepts at the European level that aim to promote economic diversification of regions, that is the Constructing Regional Advantage concept (CRA) and the Smart Specialization concept (SS). Both approaches are in favour of policy intervention but defy ‘one-size-fits-all’ policies as well as ‘stand-alone’ policies that create new activities in regions from scratch. Although ‘picking-the-winner’ policies are rejected, both policy frameworks identify and prioritise ‘promising’ targets for policy intervention, but they do so differently. The SS concept organizes this identification process through entrepreneurial discovery in which entrepreneurs select the domains of future specialization. The CRA concept focuses on identifying related variety and bottlenecks that prevent related industries in regions to connect and interact. Crucial in both frameworks is the strong involvement of local stakeholders. However, both approaches also agree that rent-seeking behavior, corruption and lock-in are potential threats to effective policy making. To avoid this, both are in favor of an open and inclusive approach and a policy implementation process that is closely monitored. The paper argues that the two policy concepts can provide useful inputs to develop a smart and comprehensive policy design that focuses on true economic renewal in regions and that avoids rent-seeking behaviour of vested players.

Suggested Citation

  • Ron Boschma, 2013. "Constructing Regional Advantage and Smart Specialization: Comparison of Two European Policy Concepts," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 1322, Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography, revised Nov 2013.
  • Handle: RePEc:egu:wpaper:1322
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    File URL: http://econ.geo.uu.nl/peeg/peeg1322.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ron Boschma & Asier Minondo & Mikel Navarro, 2013. "The Emergence of New Industries at the Regional Level in S pain: A Proximity Approach Based on Product Relatedness," Economic Geography, Clark University, vol. 89(1), pages 29-51, January.
    2. Rodrik, Dani, 2004. "Industrial Policy for the Twenty-First Century," Working Paper Series rwp04-047, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    3. Frank Neffke & Martin Henning & Ron Boschma, 2011. "How Do Regions Diversify over Time? Industry Relatedness and the Development of New Growth Paths in Regions," Economic Geography, Clark University, vol. 87(3), pages 237-265, July.
    4. Iammarino, Simona & McCann, Philip, 2006. "The structure and evolution of industrial clusters: Transactions, technology and knowledge spillovers," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(7), pages 1018-1036, September.
    5. Koen Frenken & Frank Van Oort & Thijs Verburg, 2007. "Related Variety, Unrelated Variety and Regional Economic Growth," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(5), pages 685-697.
    6. Boschma, Ron & Heimeriks, Gaston & Balland, Pierre-Alexandre, 2014. "Scientific knowledge dynamics and relatedness in biotech cities," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 107-114.
    7. Hausmann, Ricardo & Rodrik, Dani, 2003. "Economic development as self-discovery," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 603-633, December.
    8. Jan G. Lambooy & Ron A. Boschma, 2001. "Evolutionary economics and regional policy," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 35(1), pages 113-131.
    9. Fritsch, Michael & Stephan, Andreas, 2005. "Regionalization of innovation policy--Introduction to the special issue," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(8), pages 1123-1127, October.
    10. Ron Boschma & Asier Minondo & Mikel Navarro, 2012. "Related variety and regional growth in Spain," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 91(2), pages 241-256, June.
    11. Ron Boschma, 2009. "Evolutionary economic geography and its implications for regional innovation policy," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 0912, Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography, revised Sep 2009.
    12. Kevin Morgan, 2013. "The regional state in the era of Smart Specialisation," EKONOMIAZ. Revista vasca de Economía, Gobierno Vasco / Eusko Jaurlaritza / Basque Government, vol. 83(02), pages 103-126.
    13. Oughton, Christine & Landabaso, Mikel & Morgan, Kevin, 2002. "The Regional Innovation Paradox: Innovation Policy and Industrial Policy," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 97-110, January.
    14. Bjørn Asheim & Ron Boschma & Philip Cooke, 2011. "Constructing Regional Advantage: Platform Policies Based on Related Variety and Differentiated Knowledge Bases," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(7), pages 893-904.
    15. Alessandra Colombelli & Jackie Krafft & Francesco Quatraro, 2012. "The emergence of new technology-based sectors at the regional level: a proximity-based analysis of nanotechnology," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 1211, Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography, revised Jun 2012.
    16. Howells, Jeremy, 2005. "Innovation and regional economic development: A matter of perspective?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(8), pages 1220-1234, October.
    17. Gerhard Wegner, 1997. "Economic Policy From an Evolutionary Perspective: A New Approach," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 153(3), pages 485-485, September.
    18. Robert Hassink & Arnoud Lagendijk, 2001. "The dilemmas of interregional institutional learning," Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 19(1), pages 65-84, February.
    19. Todtling, Franz & Trippl, Michaela, 2005. "One size fits all?: Towards a differentiated regional innovation policy approach," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(8), pages 1203-1219, October.
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    21. Philip McCann & Raquel Ortega-Argilés, 2011. "Smart specialisation, regional growth and applications to EU cohesion policy," Working Papers 2011/14, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    22. Ron Boschma & Simona Iammarino, 2009. "Related Variety, Trade Linkages, and Regional Growth in Italy," Economic Geography, Clark University, vol. 85(3), pages 289-311, July.
    23. Ron Boschma, 2004. "Competitiveness of Regions from an Evolutionary Perspective," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(9), pages 1001-1014.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    Cited by:

    1. Andrés Rodríguez-Pose & Callum Wilkie, 2015. "Institutions and the Entrepreneurial Discovery Process for Smart Specialization," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 1523, Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography, revised Jul 2015.
    2. Roberto Camagni & Roberta Capello, 2015. "Rationale and design of EU cohesion policies in a period of crisis," Regional Science Policy & Practice, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(1), pages 25-47, March.
    3. Roberta Capello & Camilla Lenzi, 2016. "Innovation modes and entrepreneurial behavioral characteristics in regional growth," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 47(4), pages 875-893, December.
    4. Pierre-Alexandre Balland & Ron Boschma & Joan Crespo & David L. Rigby, 2017. "Smart Specialization policy in the EU: Relatedness, Knowledge Complexity and Regional Diversification," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 1717, Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography, revised Jul 2017.
    5. Jérémie Faham & Maxime Daniel & Benjamin Tyl & Iban Lizarralde & Iñaki Garagorri & Jérémy Legardeur, 2016. "A Dialogical Approach to increase " Matching " Efficiency before Collaborative Business Model Processes," Post-Print hal-01332579, HAL.
    6. Ron Boschma & Carlo Gianelle, 2014. "Regional Branching and Smart Specialisation Policy," JRC Working Papers JRC88242, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    7. Roberta Capello & Camilla Lenzi, 2015. "Una valutazione della rilevanza e utilità delle politiche di Ricerca e sviluppo tecnologico dell’Unione Europea," SCIENZE REGIONALI, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2015(3 Suppl.), pages 13-36.
    8. repec:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:2:p:319-:d:128888 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Alessandra Colombelli, 2016. "The impact of local knowledge bases on the creation of innovative start-ups in Italy," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 47(2), pages 383-396, August.
    10. Sandro Montresor & Francesco Quatraro, 2015. "Do Key Enabling Technologies shape regional Smart Specialization Strategies? A patent based analysis of European data," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis LEI & BRICK - Laboratory of Economics of Innovation "Franco Momigliano", Bureau of Research in Innovation, Complexity and Knowledge, Collegio 201506, University of Turin.
    11. repec:eee:respol:v:47:y:2018:i:1:p:139-157 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Kleoniki Kalapouti & Nikos Varsakelis, 2015. "Intra and inter: regional knowledge spillovers in European Union," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 40(5), pages 760-781, October.
    13. Borrás, Susana & Jordana, Jacint, 2016. "When Regional Innovation Policies Meet Policy Rationales and Evidence: A Plea for Policy Analysis," Papers in Innovation Studies 2016/12, Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy.
    14. Sandro Montresor & Francesco Quatraro, 2015. "Smart Specialization Strategies and Key Enabling Technologies. Regional evidence from European patent data," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 1525, Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography, revised Aug 2015.
    15. Trippl, Michaela & Asheim, Björn & Miorner, Johan, 2015. "Identification of regions with less developed research and innovation systems," Papers in Innovation Studies 2015/1, Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy.
    16. repec:eee:rensus:v:81:y:2018:i:p2:p:2672-2683 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Piirainen, Kalle A. & Tanner, Anne Nygaard & Alkærsig, Lars, 2017. "Regional foresight and dynamics of smart specialization: A typology of regional diversification patterns," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 289-300.
    18. Moodysson , Jerker & Trippl, Michaela & Zukauskaite, Elena, 2015. "Policy Learning and Smart Specialization Balancing Policy Change and Policy Stability for New Regional Industrial Path Development," Papers in Innovation Studies 2015/39, Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy.
    19. Romeo-Victor Ionescu, 2016. "The Impact of the Regional Policy on the European Economy," EuroEconomica, Danubius University of Galati, issue 1(35), pages 26-35, may.
    20. Isaksen , Arne & Trippl , Michaela, 2014. "Regional industrial path development in different regional innovation systems: A conceptual analysis," Papers in Innovation Studies 2014/17, Lund University, CIRCLE - Center for Innovation, Research and Competences in the Learning Economy.
    21. Argentino Pessoa, 2016. "Rectracted: Smart specialization in the EU: RIS3 conditionality, innovation and cohesion," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 95(2), pages 439-439, June.
    22. Donato Iacobucci, 2014. "Designing and Implementing a Smart Specialisation Strategy at Regional Level: Some Open Questions," SCIENZE REGIONALI, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2014(1), pages 107-126.
    23. Roberta Capello & Camilla Lenzi, 2015. "The Knowledge–Innovation Nexus. Its Spatially Differentiated Returns to Innovation," Growth and Change, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(3), pages 379-399, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    smart specialization; constructing regional advantage; Regional Cohesion Policy;

    JEL classification:

    • O25 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Industrial Policy
    • O38 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Government Policy
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes

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