chapter  8
20 Pages

Jockeying for Position: What It Means and Why It Matters to Regional Development Policy When Places Compete


Since the mid-1970s, a higher degree of competition workers and as the destination of tourists – all of which

among countries has been evident. Shifting fortunes will be made (either completely or partially) in some and the rise of Japan prompted widespread reappraisal of places and not in others. Lever and Turok (1999, relative national ability, particularly in high-technology p. 792) declare that ‘cities and other places compete industries (Gilpin , 1975; US Department of with one another. This takes many different forms – Commerce, 1983), including a series of over 30 some direct head-to-head competition for particular sector-specific studies by the International Trade projects or events; others more indirect, subtle and Administration, US Department of Commerce.1 Since incremental in nature’. Second, the basis for competi1990, the perception is widespread that Europe, Japan tiveness at the regional scale is one of absolute, rather (and other Asian countries such as China) and the than comparative, advantage. Trade theory, on which USA are competing in the global marketplace (De Krugman’s argument relies, based on concepts such as Woot , 1990; Hart, 1992; Jacquemin and Pench , natural resource endowments and relative availability of 1997; Office of Technology Assessment, 1991; labour and capital, cannot address adequately ‘increasStopford and Strange, 1991). ing returns linked to cumulative development processes

Krugman (1994/96, p. 34) suggests that despite and the agglomeration of activities’ and the common use of the term ‘competitiveness’, ‘coun-

each other is that they cannot go out of business. Camagni (2002b), in a recent critique of Krug-Camagni also focuses instead on non-price competitiveness

man’s views in the context of regions, makes two and draws on the work of Cooke and Morgan important conclusions. First, regions unlike nations (1998) and of Porter (1990, 2001) to explain the more or less can go out of business, becoming so absolute advantages of human capital and infrastructure,

which can be measured to some extent, and intangibledepleted by outmigration that they are at a long-run

advantages such as social and relational capital, focus of separate reports, such as The Global Information Technology Report 2002-2003 (Dutta et al., 2003),cooperation, collective learning and untraded inter-

dependencies, which almost certainly cannot be mea-a new series that began in 2002, and Environmental Performance Measurement: The Global Report 2001-2002sured. For comparisons among nations, cost and price

competitiveness have become less important, increas-(Esty and Cornelius, 2002), a (so far) one-off report that focuses on measuring national environ-ingly replaced by technological competitiveness and the

ability to compete on delivery (indicated by transport mental sustainability and national environmental performance.3equipment and infrastructure) (Fagerberg , 1988).