Forecasting Patterns of Regional Economic Change: Indications for EU Public Administrations
Procuring Authority: Umbria Innovazione
This project examines the nature of transformations in the spatial and sectoral structure of economic activity in selected regions of the EU, and assesses their implications for regional policy. More specifically, the project sets out to forecast the extent to which regions are capable of confronting the emerging economic challenges and to identify the potential constraints on changes required for maintaining their competitive position, which, in turn, can slow down economic growth and prevent them from achieving higher levels of real income.

A parallel concern of the project is to examine the extent to which there is a tendency, on the one hand, for regional economies to converge towards a common structure of economic activity or, on the other, for distinct patterns of specialization to persist or even become more evident. This is of relevance for policy, insofar as the greater the difference between regions in areas of specialization, the more the development path will differ, implying a greater need to take account of such differences when formulating strategies for supporting and encouraging development. At the same time, the greater the degree of regional specialization, the more the potential vulnerability of regions to external events which affect the industry or sector concerned, such as increased competition from new entrants into global markets, the dismantling of trade restrictions, or new technological developments.

The project is structured around the following axes of research:

  • 1. Anatomy of EU economic regions explores the economic anatomy of EU regions and points to emerging economic trends, the spatial dynamics of location of investment activities and their sectoral composition


  • 2. Impact of multinational enterprise (MNE) consolidation on regional economic systems examines current and emerging practices of foreign direct investment (FDI), outsourcing and offshoring and their implications for the regional economic sectors and SMEs


  • 3. Internationalization of R&D and open innovation explores the logic of internationalization, especially the offshoring of R&D investments in the EU and practices and the growing migration of innovation to open networks


  • 4. Clusters and emerging forms of clustering explores the concept and practice of clusters with reference to emerging forms of clustering, especially cross-regional collaborative arrangements involving business networks, scientific and research institutions, and regional government authorities


  • 5. Policy implications develops an outline of policy indications regional economic policy

These are grouped around the following themes:

  • Toward extended and dynamic clustering-based economic development policy


  • Institutions, strategy and policy


  • Organizational structure and process


  • Law and regulation


  • ICT infrastructure, uses, and policy


  • Governance


  • Future research and policy challenges