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Regional benchmarking in the smart specialisation process: Identification of reference regions based on structural similarity

Regional benchmarking can be of great help in making strategic decisions within the process of the design and implementation of regional Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation (RIS3). It can help positioning a region with respect to other regions in Europe and facilitate policy learning based on the transfer of good practices across borders
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Abstract

Regional benchmarking can be of great help in making strategic decisions within the process of the design and implementation of regional Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation (RIS3). It can help positioning a region with respect to other regions in Europe and facilitate policy learning based on the transfer of good practices across borders. One of the most basic conditions required for drawing lessons from regional benchmarking is to compare homogeneous regions and learn from equivalents. This paper aims to provide a new methodology for the identification of homogeneous regions for regional benchmarking; identifying groups of homogeneous regions using variables that are similar in nature; focusing solely on structural conditions, thereby overcoming the flaws produced by mixing variables of a different nature (comparing structural indicators with performance and/or behavioural indicators).