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Smart Specialization Strategies and Smart Cities: An Evidence-Based Assessment of EU policies


  • Andrea CARAGLIU
  • Chiara F. DEL BO


Recent EU policies, prompted by the European Commission, revolve around the word “smart” and are aimed at stimulating the best from each region and city. At the urban level, several policy initiatives are focused on the concept of Smart City, which initially developed around the relevance of ICT infrastructure as a means of connecting cities and, thus, empowering their growth capabilities. More recently, the “smart” label has also been applied to regional policies. Originally conceived in terms of industrial specialization, Smart Specialization Strategies are currently a highly debated topic in regional science both steering policy making and eliciting academic studies. Despite the popularity of these concepts in the policy domain, few attempts have been made to properly ground the concept of Smart Specialization Strategy into a comprehensive theoretical framework, and none has been made to explain the difference between the concept of Smart City and Smart Specialization Strategy. This paper aims at filling this gap by framing both concepts in a single unitary framework. A previous definition of smart city is the basis for the construction of an urban indicator of smartness, while a new empirical methodology to identify Smart Specialization Strategies among regions is proposed. By combining the two levels of analysis, empirical results suggest that EU regions appear to be on a smart specialization path and that Smart Cities are more likely to emerge in smartly specialized regions.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrea CARAGLIU & Chiara F. DEL BO, 2013. "Smart Specialization Strategies and Smart Cities: An Evidence-Based Assessment of EU policies," Departmental Working Papers 2013-17, Department of Economics, Management and Quantitative Methods at Università degli Studi di Milano.
  • Handle: RePEc:mil:wpdepa:2013-17

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    Smart City; Smart Specialization Strategies; EU policy;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • R58 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - Regional Development Planning and Policy
    • L52 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Industrial Policy; Sectoral Planning Methods


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