Locational Advantage and Lessons for Territorial Competition in Europe
Two significant consequences of the pervasive economic changes of the past 25 years or so, associated with internationalisation if not actually globalization1, involve substantial increases in the intensity of competition, and in the economic importance attributed to place (i.e. to specific spatial externalities). In both cases, it is also argued that qualitative factors (involving the presence or absence of multiple qualities), rather than simply availability and price, have come to play an increasingly important role. Thus Porter (1990)2 argues both that traditional concepts of comparative advantage are inappropriate to a world in which quality competition prevails, and that qualitative attributes of a firm’s national and city-regional environment play an important role in enabling it to develop competitive advantage. A natural corollary is to expect the growth of forms of inter-place, or territorial competition, involving attempts to boost local economic performance through collective efforts to enhance qualitatively significant attributes of particular places — which would be relatively new to European cities and regions, if not in the United States. Even Krugman (1996) who has argued strongly that competitiveness is an attribute of firms not of collectivities, recognises that the role of agglomeration economies makes spatial outcomes potentially dependent on chance or governmental influences operating at an urban-regional (or national) scale. Since there is in this situation no unique equilibrium outcome, ‘an intellectually respectable case’ can then be made in support of selective interventions as a means of boosting local real incomes — though Krugman is suspicious that such cases will usually turn out to be unwarranted pieces of special pleading on behalf of more specific interests.
KeywordsCompetitive Advantage Local Economic Development Agglomeration Economy World City Locational Advantage
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Friden, L. and I.R. Gordon, 1996, “Locational Factors and Territorial Competition”, Paper presented to the Regional Science Association European Congress, Zurich.Google Scholar
- Gordon, I.R., 1995, “’London World City’: Political and Organisational Constraints on Territorial Competition”, in P.C. Cheshire and I.R. Gordon (eds.), Territorial Competition in an Integrating Europe, Avebury, Aldershot.Google Scholar
- Gordon, I.R., 1996, “Territorial Competition and Locational Advantage in the London Region”, Paper presented to the American Association of Geographers annual conference, Charlotte.Google Scholar
- Gordon, I.R. and H. Jayet, 1994, “Territorial Policies between Cooperation and Competition”, Working Paper No. 12E/94 CESURE, Lille. University of Science and Technology. Google Scholar
- Gordon, I.R. and P. McCann, 1998, “Industrial Clusters, Complexes, Milieux and Agglomeration”, Regional Science Association, British-Irish section conference, University of York.Google Scholar
- Krugman, P., 1996, Pop Internationalism, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass.Google Scholar
- Massey, D., 1984, Spatial Divisions of Labour, Macmillan, London.Google Scholar
- Olson, M., 1965, The Logic of Collective Action: Public Goods and the Theory of Groups, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass.Google Scholar
- Porter, M.E., 1990, The Competitive Advantage of Nations, Free Press, New York.Google Scholar
- Sassen, S., 1991, Global City, Princeton University Press, Princeton.Google Scholar
- Senn, L., 1995, “The Role of Services in the Competitive Position of Milan”, in P.C. Cheshire and I.R. Gordon (eds.), Territorial Competition in an Integrating Europe, Avebury, Aldershot.Google Scholar
- Wins, P., 1995, “The Location of Firms: An Analysis of Choice Processes”, in P.C. Cheshire and I.R. Gordon (eds.), Territorial Competition in an Integrating Europe, Avebury, Aldershot.Google Scholar