The paper identifies different regional policy mixes, ranging from the more minimal to the more proactive or entrepreneurial and verifies their diffusion in the Italian regional enterprise and innovation policies. The empirical analysis is based on an original database containing every enterprise and innovation programme that has been implemented in Italy from 2007 to 2013, and is carried out by means of fuzzy-set clustering techniques. The results show the existence of remarkable heterogeneity, partly reflecting the well-known North-South divide, with some regions adopting minimal policy mixes and other regions adopting different types of proactive mixes.
Caloffi A. & Mariani M. (2018) Regional policy mixes for enterprise and innovation: A fuzzy-set clustering approach. Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space, 36(1), 28-46.
Dipartimento di Scienze per l’Economia e l’Impresa (DISEI), Università degli Studi di Firenze, Italy
The interview transcript
Hi, welcome to coffee break with researchers. Today, we are at the regional innovation policies conference in Florence, and I’m having a coffee break
with Annalisa Caloffi, she is an Associate Professor of Applied Economics at the University of Florence. Hello Annalisa, it’s a pleasure for me to have you here at coffee break, how are you doing?
Fine thank you, hello and thank you for inviting me.
Do you like the coffee?
Very much, of course, I’m an Italian so I like coffee.
I would like to talk with you about a paper you wrote, in which you
analyzed different regional policy mixes for enterprise and innovation. Could you please tell me what the paper was about?
yes, well the previous research on regional innovation policy mixes, which
are, let’s say different combinations of policy instruments in a single package, in a single mix, were mostly of a theoretical nature, in this paper, we tried to translate some of these theoretical prescriptions into an empirical analysis, and in particular, we put forward simple methodology for the identification of, let’s say different policy-making styles, and then we try to apply this methodology to the analysis of the activity of the regional policymakers in Italy.
Great, thank you for clarifying that and which ones were your main findings in your paper?
Well, let me put it this way, explain maybe a little bit more
about what the original policy-making style is about because at least, in principle you can have different policy-making styles, which we try to describe in the paper and these policy-making styles can range
from the more minimal to the more proactive, while a proactive policymaker is a policymaker that tries to promote investment in structural change in innovation in strategic directions, more minimal policymaker is a policymaker that target more general forms of firm’s investment maybe it’s a policymaker that does not fancy very much targeting our selecting interventions and we try to classify the Italian regional policy makers, which are 20, we have 20 regions in Italy, in these we try to see whether the activity of the policymaker could actually be understood, be seen as something more close to a proactive style or to a minimal style and, of course, the reality is not in black and white, so we tried to take into account all the different kind of possible types of policymaking styles ranging between these two extremes and, in the end our
findings were, let’s say quite paradoxical in a way because we found
that those regions that, prior to our analysis were already those that were
the more innovative ones, those with a higher quality of government,
well those in which we could find the proactive, the more proactive type of government, while on the other hand those regions that would have been more in need of a government promoting structure change are those in which we find the, let’s say minimal style, this is quite paradoxical in a way but similar types of paradoxes has already been found, being found in the in the regional economic literature.
That’s indeed quite interesting so what was the main motivation that you had when you wrote the paper?
We would like to say something more about the regional level of government and in particular on the effectiveness of of this level of government because the debate on regional policies is cyclically characterized by the presence of criticism about either the the role
the very existence of a regional level of policymaking or the effectiveness of this level of policymaking or both of course, but we must recognize that in many cases this criticism are based on some very famous cases of failure rather than on a more detailed knowledge of what the regional policymakers are doing so we were trying to give a contribution by looking in more that a more detailed way what the original policymakers are doing how can we describe the behavior.
That’s indeed very important so, finally based on the findings of your research which ones would you say are the main policy implications?
I think that literature has already identified the existence of a very important nexus linking institutional quality and regional economic development and we believe that our story about the different policy-making styles is fully consistent with the presence of of this nexus in particular of course we believe that proactive proactive type of policymaker can contribute to regional economic development processes but of course we also have to take into account the other way around, which means that regions that are more developed there
more innovative that have a higher quality of institutions and of
government those that are able to, let’s say, produce a more proactive type of policymakers and in the future we would like to understand more about the direction let’s say of this causality.
That’s very interesting, looking forward to those analysis as well, so those were my questions Annalisa, thank you so much
for your time. It was great to have you here, I wish you all the best for your future research and hope to see you next time in a coffee break. Thank you very much.
Thank you for watching, if you are interested in more details about this
academic publication, you can find here the link below. See you next time bye-bye