From L-R, Dr Laura Polverari (EPRC), Dr Paolo Chiocchetti (University of Luxembourg) and Prof Riccardo Crescenzi (LSE).
On 29 November 2017, EPRC hosted a double seminar on the topic: The competitiveness dilemma: what it means and how to achieve it. Theoretical and empirical findings. Two papers were presented by Dr Paolo Chiocchetti (University of Luxembourg) and Prof Riccardo Crescenzi (LSE).
Dr Chiocchetti presented some of his research from the REsUME project (Resources on the European socio-economic model). He reviewed the concept of “Competitiveness”, its origins and evolution, as one of the most influential concepts and ideas in economics and public policy. He concluded that competitiveness encapsulates three different meanings namely: a degree of/positive attitude towards competition; competitiveness as relative performance; and competitiveness as absolute performance. Several elements, variations, contradictions and biases characterise each one of these interpretations, with important consequences on the coherence of the design of economic policies. Dr Chiocchetti concluded that, the concept isn’t sufficiently discussed in academic and policy spheres, in spite of its fundamental influence on socio-economic policy across the globe.
Prof Crescenzi presented a paper, co-authored with Mara Giua and Guido de Blasio, in which the authors evaluate the Collaborative Industrial Research programme implemented in the less developed regions of Italy during 2007-13. A key investment programme to foster the collaboration between firms and research, this programme can be seen as a precursor of the current Smart Specialisation Strategy approach. Through a counterfactual analysis, the authors tested the impact of the programme on beneficiary firms, concluding that there is limited evidence, on several accounts, of the programme’s impact and added value. This is leading the authors to question the impetus with which the Smart Specialisation agenda has been promoted under 2014-20 Cohesion policy.
A lively discussion followed the two presentations, with questions on research design, on the implications of the findings on the Italian CIR programme for the implementation of Smart Specialisation across the EU, and on the ontological dimension of competitiveness.