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Assessing Smart Specialisation: Policy Implementation Measures

Ugo Fratesi, Carlo Gianelle and Fabrizio Guzzo

No JRC123821, JRC Research Reports from Joint Research Centre

Abstract: The objective of this report is to provide an account of how and to what extent the Smart Specialisation approach to regional innovation policy has been implemented in practice. The analysis explores how policy measures implemented under the Thematic Objective 1 “Strengthening research, technological development and innovation” of national and regional Operational Programmes, co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund, have incorporated key Smart Specialisation principles during the 2014-2020 programming period. We identify three main design principles of Smart Specialisation and translate them into three research hypotheses characterized in ways that can be tested empirically.We find that the Smart Specialisation strategies under scrutiny mostly apply a limited portfolio of traditional, supply-side instruments. All things considered, there is limited evidence of the implementation of a truly selective intervention logic aimed to support in a dedicated way different investment priorities. We observe quite pervasive support to the establishment of a critical mass of individual and collaborative entrepreneurial initiatives in all the Smart Specialisation areas, while support to the formation and strengthening of stakeholder communities is only present in a very few territories. We find positive although not widespread evidence of the introduction of novel elements in the design of some instruments; this points to a tentative break with tradition and path dependency which is in line with the spirit of Smart Specialisation. Policy implications for the future development and evolution of European regional innovation policy are derived.

Keywords: regional innovation policy; Smart Specialisation; policy instruments; implementation measures (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O25 O30 R12 R58 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 46 pages
Date: 2021-07
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-geo, nep-ino, nep-knm, nep-sbm and nep-tid
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Citations: View citations in EconPapers (3)

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