New Tendencies in Competition Between Cities and Regions: Empirical Results from Case Studies in Germany and Austria

It is often discussed that during the last decades, due to several new developments, locational competition at the local and regional scale has changed its appearance and has increased significantly, all over Europe. Modern economic theories are suggesting that some locational factors have become more important than in previous times and might have led to changing conditions for the competition between cities and regions. The intention of the paper is to bring more light into this discussion and to illustrate, with the help of case studies, whether locational competition has really become more intensive, and / or whether new categories of competition have evolved. The paper is based on the work of an interdisciplinary research group which was initiated and partially financed by the German National Academy for Spatial Research and Planning (Akademie für Raumforschung und Landesplanung, ARL). The paper’s first part is reporting on a survey of recent theoretical and empirical literature on locational competition and has the task to classify the new tendencies systematically. The second part of the paper is presenting the results of case studies, which were carried out in order to find out about the importance of the expected changes in selected cities and regions in Germany and Austria. The main findings may be characterized as follows. For several cities and regions, we found out that the decrease of transportation and transaction costs had positive impacts on local and regional development, as within these cities and regions, industries are concentrated which benefit from technologies which are connected to transportation or transaction costs. Also for some regions, a positive impact of the downsizing of administrative borders was found – although especially in Eastern Germany, the process of catching up was restrained by agglomeration economies in the West. Although the impact of the new categories of locational competition on the economic development of the case cities and regions was, overall, limited, there was an important impact on the creation of new strategies by local and regional policymakers.

01. January 2013

Authors Martin T. W. Rosenfeld

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