Regional Development

Measuring regional development: Issues from emerging economies


This workshop was organised by the Working Party on Territorial Indicators

 on 14 June 2011, at the OECD Conference Centre, Paris


Enhanced co-operation with emerging economies is high priority in the OECD agenda. The main aim of this workshop is to share experiences in the measurement of regional development, by presenting some issues in emerging economies and the role of regional development policies in addressing them.

This workshop was organized around the three main sections of the forthcoming publication “OECD Regions at a Glance 2011” that support the OECD mission to foster stronger, fairer and cleaner economies.

Taking stock of the OECD knowledge and tools to measure regional development, participants at the workshop iwere nvited to discuss how to adapt these measures to emerging and developing economies. 





10:00 - 10:30

Measuring regional development: Issues from emerging economies



Opening remarks

  • Mario Marcel, Deputy Director, OECD/GOV "Introductory remarks"
  • Tim Davis, Head Accession Unit, OECD/STD "OECD statistical accession strategy"



Session 1

10:30 - 12:30

Regions as drivers of competitiveness



This session will present some evidence on productivity differentials and innovation capacity of regions in Brazil and in the Russian Federation.  This session will also discuss the adequacy of the currently available measures of skills and innovation at regional level in emerging and OECD countries.

Questions for discussion:

  • What measures of productivity and skills better describe the competitiveness of different regions in emerging economies? Do these measures differ from the measures used in OECD countries? Is the existing information comprehensive enough to identify the economic potential of regions in the global market?
  • What kinds of statistics do better measure regional innovation in emerging and OECD countries?
  • How do institutional and policy factors contribute to shape regional innovation networks? What tools should be developed to measure the impact of these factors?





Giovanni Barbieri, National Statistical Institute (ISTAT) Italy



Session 2

14:00 - 15:30

Inclusion and equal access to quality services in regions



This session will discuss the relevance of regional differences in the income distribution of countries and quality of life. It will then focus on how to bring forward regional measurements of access and quality of services, as well as of income and living conditions.

Questions for discussion:

  • To what extent do regional disparities influence household inequality at the national level in emerging economies?
  • What are the main dimensions to analyse spatial inequalities in the quality of life in emerging economies and OECD countries?
  • What information could better support policy-making in improving living conditions and access to quality services in regions?
  • How do the variation in skills and demographic composition of immigrants affect the local economy and what is the role of regional policy in maximizing the gain from immigration?




  • Introduction: Results from “OECD Regions at a Glance 2011” (Secretariat)
  • Amitabh Kundu, Centre for the Study of Regional Development, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India "Migration and labour mobility in India: impact on inequalities and regional development"
  • Luis Riffo, Economic Commission for Latin America and the Carrabean, United Nations "Regional inequalities in essential services: evidence from Latin American Countries"




Olaf Foss, Norway Institute for Urban and Regional Research (NIBR), Norway



Session 3

16:00 - 17:30

Environmental sustainability in regions and metropolitan areas



This session will present the impact on socio-economic and environmental conditions of the changes in urbanisation in South Africa. It will then discuss a) whether the typologies of rural, urban and metropolitan regions defined for OECD countries could be meaningfully adapted to non OECD countries; and b) the development of a set of environmental indicators based on global geographical information data sources.


Questions for discussion:

  • How can we measure the efficiency of urban areas in the use of natural (land, energy and water) and human (productivity, skilled labour, use of technologies and innovation) resources? What are the advantages for national policy-makers of having internationally comparable estimates at urban level?
  • How could the OECD regional typology of rural and urban regions be adapted to non OECD countries?
  • To what extent could the current work on the definition of functional metropolitan areas in OECD countries be extended to rapidly urbanising emerging economies? 
  • What kind of information should be developed for a better understanding of the socio-economic and environmental linkages between rural and urban regions?
  • What environmental measures should we develop at the regional and metropolitan level?



  • Introduction: Results from "OECD Regions at a Glance 2011" (Secretariat)
  • Maine Geyer, Centre for Regional and Urban Innovation Systems, Stellenboch University, South Africa "Spatial-structural change in urban South Africa: the role of medium sized cities" 





17:45 - 18:00

Conclusions and way forward



Conclusions and way forward: Duarte Rodrigues, WPTI Chair


(Workshop participation by invitation only)



 Workshop Agenda



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