European Regional Competitiveness Index

Regional competitiveness is the ability of a region to offer an attractive and sustainable environment for firms and residents to live and work. Launched in 2010 and published every three years, the Regional Competitiveness Index (RCI) allows regions to monitor and assess their development over time and in comparison with other regions.

In addition to interactive maps, the novelty of this 2016 edition is the interactive web tool, which allows for a more detailed analysis and comparison of each region, either with its peers in terms of GDP per capita or with all EU regions. Users can see easily where their region stands in innovation, governance, transport and digital infrastructure, and measures of health and human capital. This aims to help regions identify their strengths, their weaknesses and investment priorities when shaping their development strategies. Interactive spider-graphs are now available as well where two regions can be benchmarked with each other and with the European average.

Overall, the 2016 results are in line with those for 2013. Once again, a polycentric pattern can be observed with strong capital and metropolitan areas as the main drivers of competitiveness. Spill over effects can be seen in most of north-western Europe, but this is much less obvious in the EU regions to the east and south. High levels of within-country variation are observed in many cases which are caused by a clearly outperforming capital region compared to the other regions in the country.

The important added-value of the RCI is that it extends the traditional analysis of competitiveness from a purely economic measure to incorporate social elements. It also takes into account the level of development of a region by shifting the emphasis from more basic issues to innovation related factors. The index can therefore provide indications of what each region should focus on, taking into account its specific situation and its level of development.

The methodological paper detailing how the index is computed is available here

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