Transitions in Regional Development Policy: Comparative to Competitive Advantage

  • Tony McCall


This chapter explores the progress of international regional development policy, including new regionalism and the knowledge economy, regional innovation systems, and constructed advantage. The role of SMEs is highlighted in anchoring regional science, and collaboration is examined as an emerging driver of competitive advantage. The text explains the rise of globalisation in shifting the focus of regional science from competitive to comparative advantage, based on the abilities of regional SMEs to operate in the global context. However, the failures of this as a base for regional policy are highlighted, and ‘new regionalism’ is instead explored as a theoretical base to connect globalisation with the knowledge-based economy.

The chapter remarks on the emerging perspective that knowledge is rapidly becoming an important input to economic growth, and that regions can rapidly respond to opportunities presented by the knowledge economy due to their pre-existing social capital and commercial networks. It also provides a critical analysis of new regionalism (NR) theory, its policy implications, and the research questions arising about how NR links with innovation, regional innovation systems, governance and institutional design, and intervention. Finally, the chapter covers the theory of regional innovation systems, including the implementation of regional development platform methods (RDPM) to enhance opportunities for regional enterprises—providing an alternative collaborative business model for defining ‘how regions do business’.


Social Capital Competitive Advantage Regional Development Comparative Advantage Regional Economy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Portions of the above text have been drawn from McCall, T. 2010, Spatial Innovation in Tasmania Constructing Advantage Through Regional Development Platform Methods, Australian Innovation Research Centre, Working Paper Series WP/0510, University of Tasmania, Tasmania; available online at


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of GovernmentUniversity of TasmaniaHobartAustralia

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