The European Regional Competitiveness Index 2019
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RCI 2019 tracks the performance of 268 regions at NUTS-2 level across 28 EU Member States. It measures 11 dimensions of competitiveness capturing concepts that are relevant to productivity and long-term development. Like the previous three editions of the Index (Annoni and Kozovska, 2010; Annoni and Dijkstra, 2013; Annoni et al., 2017), the RCI provides a comparable and multifaceted picture of the level of competitiveness for all EU regions. The sub-national level described by the RCI allows for assessing inequalities and monitoring performance across time at a disaggregated spatial level which, in most cases, is much more suitable than the national one. For all these reasons, the RCI should be considered as an instrument to assist with the design of better policies and monitoring their effectiveness.
The 2019 edition includes 74 indicators selected from a set of 84 candidate indicators, most spanning the period 2015-2017, with some as recent as 2018 while a few others go back to 2014. RCI 2019 follows the same framework as previous editions: the indicators are grouped into 11 pillars which, in turn, are organised into three sub-indexes: basic, efficiency and innovation factors of competitiveness. Being a multidimensional and intertwined concept, improving competitiveness requires the coordinated effort of many different actors. The analysis of the RCI, its three sub-indexes and 11 dimensions help to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of each region with the possibility to benchmark each one to the EU average or its peers. The RCI is a unique, comparable and transparent tool for national and local decisionmakers responsible for regional development strategies, in particular in the context of cohesion policy.
This paper shows the spatial variation of regional competitiveness in the EU, as revealed by the latest 2019 edition of the RCI, together with the most relevant changes over the four editions of the Index. The RCI trend analysis reveals how various regions reacted differently to the 2008 crisis. The first edition of the RCI, published in 2010, captured the situation immediately before the crisis, due to the structural delay in the publication of regional indicators by official statistical sources. This sheds light on what made individual regions more able to recover and bounce back from an economic shock: in other words, what makes one region more resilient than another.
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