Globalisation and Regional Economies

Can OECD Regions Compete in Global Industries?

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Despite concern about the negative impacts of globalisation on the economies of OECD regions, notably the loss of manufacturing jobs and enterprise relocation, this report presents evidence that region-specific advantages – embedded in specialised firms, skilled labour and innovation capacity – remain a significant source of productivity gain for firms, even for the largest multinational enterprises.  A new geography of production is emerging, based around both old and new regional hubs in OECD and non-OECD countries. National and regional governments in OECD countries are looking for ways to ensure that regions maintain a competitive edge in industries that generate wealth and jobs. This report looks at how different regions are responding to these challenges and the strategies they have adopted to support existing competitive advantages and to transform their assets to develop new competitive strengths.



Executive Summary

Economic geography in an era of global competition involves a paradox. It is widely recognised that changes in technology and competition have altered many of the traditional rules that determine location of economic activity, making it possible for firms to access the inputs and knowledge that they need in order to compete from anywhere across the globe. Yet geographic concentration remains a striking feature of virtually every national and regional economy in the OECD. Over the last few years, for example, many of the leading firms in “new economy” industries have tended to cluster together.


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