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OECD Regions at a Glance 2007

image of OECD Regions at a Glance 2007
Just 10% of regions accounted for more than half of total employment creation in most OECD countries between 1998 and 2003. This means that national growth tends to be driven by the dynamism of a small number of regions. Policy makers need sound statistical information on the source of regional competitiveness, but such information is not always available. Sub-national data are limited and regional indicators are difficult to compare between countries. OECD Regions at a Glance aims to fill this gap by analysing and comparing major territorial patterns and regional trends across OECD countries. It assesses the impact of regions on national growth. It identifies unused resources that can be mobilised to improve regional competitiveness. And it tackles more intangible factors that can make the difference: it shows how regions compete in terms of well-being (access to higher education, health services, safety etc.). Regions at a Glance presents over 30 indicators in a reader-friendly format. Each indicator is illustrated by graphs and maps. A dynamic link (StatLink) is provided for each graph and map, which directs the user to a web page where the corresponding data are available in Excel®.

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Regional disparities in specialisation

Regional specialisation varies considerably among OECD countries. Specialisation is commonly measured by the Balassa-Hoover index: the ratio between an industry’s weight in a region and its weight in the country overall. A region is specialised in an industry when the index is above 1 and it is not specialised when the index is below 1. A region’s degree of specialisation, therefore, can be measured as the weighted average of its degrees of specialisation in each industry. The higher this value, the more specialised the region.

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