On 27 February, the European Commission released an update of the European Competitiveness Index. In this index, the Dutch region of Utrecht dropped from being the first to being the second most competitive region in Europe. In this chapter, Mark Thissen and Frank van Oort (Erasmus University Rotterdam) explain why such a ranking has little value for assessing the economic performance of regions. They also describe an alternative, more suitable benchmark.
To properly assess the economic performance of regions, the regions’ firms and their competitors on sales, investment and knowledge markets also must be taken into account. This provides regional and sector-specific information about a region’s performance that is very different from the information in the European Competitiveness Index, which is derived from a simple comparison between all European regions.