Competitiveness and Economic Development

The competitiveness of a region largely consists of the quality of its economic foundations, including human capital and the physical infrastructure. The term “competitiveness” largely is synonymous with “business climate.” Economic development refers to efforts to improve the economic well-being and quality of life in a region by retaining and creating jobs, and by maintaining and increasing incomes.

January 2018
Discusses the evolution of international trade, addressing both the benefits of trade and local employment and wage dislocations that sometimes result from trade. NAFTA is specifically examined. Income and wage inequality also are discussed, with the effects from trade compared to the effects from technological changes and other factors.  
December 2016
Compares the public finance systems of Arizona and Utah. The public finance system, a component of competitiveness, in Utah is considered to be one of the best in the nation, while Arizona’s system is rated as average to below average.
February 2016
Compares Arizona and Nevada on various aspects of the economy, including economic development and economic performance, and examines educational measures. Evaluations of the business climate in Nevada place it below the national average and near the bottom of the western states, while Arizona ranks among the middle of the states.
September 2015
Contrasts Arizona and Utah on various aspects of the economy, including economic development and economic performance. The business climate in Utah has been evaluated as being among the best in the nation, while Arizona ranks among the middle of the states.
May 2012

Projects Arizona’s economic competitiveness following legislative actions in 2011 and 2012. The recent packages of business tax reductions and enhanced incentives taken individually will boost competitiveness; however, this will be offset by an inability to provide the public infrastructure and services needed by businesses due to the reduction in government revenue.

May 2009
Summarizes the three ways that universities contribute to the local economy: as an economic base industry, as an institution of higher education, and as a research institution. Higher incomes of individuals and the community as a whole, higher-quality jobs, enhanced economic development, and improvements in prosperity and quality of life are all associated with the presence of universities in the community.
November 2008
Addresses Arizona’s tremendous infrastructure needs. Its public infrastructure—particularly the transportation system—has not kept pace with the state’s growth; Arizona’s existing physical infrastructure—especially the water infrastructure—is aging; and Arizona continues to grow rapidly, creating a substantial demand from new residents and new businesses for public-sector and private-sector infrastructure.
August 2006
Provides a review of studies that examine the extent to which university research promotes local economic growth and development, with a primary focus on economic impacts that derive from the innovative outputs of faculty. These impacts include the attraction of industrial laboratories, the start-up of new high-tech businesses, and competitive advantages enjoyed by local businesses when their technology is advanced by university research.
June 2005
Reviews Ireland’s dramatic improvement in economic growth and prosperity, providing comparisons to Arizona.

Related Articles and Reports

Accelerating Infrastructure Investment Across the Country, Milken Institute, January 2021

Panel Database on Incentives and Taxes, W.E. Upjohn Institute

It’s Time for States to Invest in Infrastructure, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, March 2019

State Competitiveness Report, Beacon Hill Institute, 2018

Five Things You Thought You Knew About Big Business vs. Small Business… But Didn’t, The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, September 2018

Recognizing Infrastructure’s Role as a Local Economic Anchor, Brookings Institution, August 2018

Landing Amazon HQ2 Isn’t the Right Way for a City to Create Jobs. Here’s What Works Instead, Brookings Institution, August 2018

The Competitive Edge: A Policymaker’s Guide to Developing a National Strategy, The Information and Technology Foundation, December 2017

Time for Washington to Think Like a StateForbes, January 2017

Restoring Investment in America’s Economy, The Information and Technology Foundation, June 2016

Transportation and Arizona, 106th Arizona Town Hall, April 2015

Drivers of Job Creation, Center for American Progress, June 2014

Competitiveness, Innovation and Productivity: Clearing Up the Confusion, The Information and Technology Foundation, August 2013

Building Arizona’s Future: Jobs, Innovation & Competitiveness, 96th Arizona Town Hall, April 2010

Charting A Course for Arizona’s Technology-Based Economic Development, Milken Institute, December 15, 2009