The Competitiveness Of Location In International Business And Economic Geography

Authored by: Philippe Gugler

The Routledge Companion to the Geography of International Business

Print publication date:  March  2018
Online publication date:  March  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138953345
eBook ISBN: 9781315667379
Adobe ISBN:


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The World Economic Forum (WEF) defines competitiveness as “the set of institutions, policies, and factors that determine the level of productivity of a country” (WEF, 2015, p. 4). A competitive location offers efficient opportunities and assets, allowing firms to achieve a high level of productivity (Porter, 2008, p. 176). The higher the competitiveness of a location, the more attractive it is as a business location. The attractiveness of a specific location will induce a concentration of enterprises and therefore economic activities within its boundaries. Domestic firms will grow, new firms will be created, and foreign firms will invest in the location. This phenomenon has raised the interest of scholars from several disciplines, particularly Economic Geography and International Business (IB) (Beugelsdijk, McCann & Mudambi, 2010, p. 485). From the establishment of these two fields until recently, theoretical and empirical studies had mainly been conducted in parallel (Dunning, 1998; Gertler, 2003). As stated by Beugelsdijk et al. (2010, p. 486), the scientific connections between them were very limited until the end of the 1990s. On the one side:

[i]n terms of locational analysis, one of the obvious shortcomings of the traditional Economic Geography and regional science approaches was that the complex spatial behaviour of multiplant and multinational establishment was largely ignored, and where such issues were discussed, the analysis rarely ventured beyond being largely descriptive.

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