Demographic Change and Regional Competitiveness: The Effects of Immigration and Ageing
The demographic profile of a region is usually seen as a slowly changing background phenomenon in the analysis of regional competitiveness and regional growth. However, regional demographic change can have a significant impact on regional competitiveness and such change is often more rapid and profound than at the national level. In turn, regional population size, growth, composition and distribution are endogenous to regional economic development. This paper focuses on the impact of population ageing and immigration on aspects of regional competitiveness such as innovation, entrepreneurship and productivity. Immigration and ageing trends have generated huge separate literatures but it is argued here that it is fruitful to consider these trends jointly. Theoretically, there are many channels through which immigration and population ageing can affect regional competitiveness. There is empirical evidence that population ageing reduces regional competitiveness, while immigration – particularly of entrepreneurs and highly skilled workers to metropolitan areas – enhances competitiveness. Much of the available literature is based on small-scale case studies and rigorous econometric research on the impact of demographic change at the regional level is still remarkably rare. Some directions for further research are suggested.
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