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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.

University Economist Reports

Trade, Wage Inequality, and Regional Dislocation in the United States, With Reference to the North American Free Trade Agreement and Trade With Mexico, January 2018
The evolution of international trade is discussed, 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.

A Fiscal Comparison of Arizona and Utah, December 2016
This is the third paper comparing Arizona and Utah, focusing on the public finance systems of the two states. Utah's system is considered to be one of the best in the nation.

The Performance of the Economies of the Western States and Large Western Metropolitan Areas, November 2016
This paper is an extension of the October 2016 report on the performance of the Arizona economy (see below). It compares the performance of 10 western states and of the 17 metro areas within these states that have a population of at least 1 million (including Phoenix and Tucson).

The Performance of the Arizona Economy, Particularly During the Current Cycle, October 2016
Examines economic performance in Arizona and in subregions of the state in three categories: aggregate growth, prosperity, and productivity. The current economic cycle is compared to prior cycles. Also looks at the level of productivity and prosperity.

The Economic Base of Arizona, Metropolitan Phoenix, Metropolitan Tucson, and the Balance of the State: Updated With 2014 Data, July 2016
The economic base in 2014 and the change in the base between 2004 and 2014 are examined. For the first time, the base is defined by economic clusters.

An Economic Comparison of Arizona and Nevada, With an Emphasis on Education, February 2016
Compares Arizona and Nevada on various aspects of the economy, including economic development and economic performance. Analyzes educational achievement and attainment and examines education funding in the two states. 

An Economic Comparison of Arizona and Utah, September 2015
Compares Arizona and Utah on various aspects of the economy, including economic development and economic performance. 

Aggregate Economic Growth in Arizona Since 2007, January 2015
Looks at aggregate economic growth in Arizona since the end of the last economic expansion from a historical perspective and relative to the rest of the nation. Also looks ahead to possible growth rates over the next several years.

Overview of Economic Competitiveness: Business and Individual Location Factors, With a Focus on Arizona, November 2014
Provides an introduction to economic competitiveness, discusses location factors important to businesses, and evaluates competitiveness in Arizona. 

An Overview of the Household Location Decision Process, with a Focus on Arizona, October 2013
The factors important to an individual contemplating making a long-distance move are discussed. The desirability of Arizona and its major metropolitan areas are evaluated. Migration trends also are examined.

The Economic Base of Arizona, Metropolitan Phoenix, Metropolitan Tucson, the Balance of the State, and Chandler, June 2012
The economic base in 2009 and the change in the base between 2001 and 2009 are examined. The data are available from three Excel files:
     Arizona, Metro Phoenix, Metro Tucson and Balance of State, 2009
     Chandler, 2009
     Arizona and Chandler, 2001-09 Change

An Assessment of Arizona's Economic Competitiveness, May 2012
A summary of Arizona's competitiveness position following legislative actions in 2011 and 2012.

Causes of Varying Economic Performance By State, March 2011
Economic growth by state since 2000, particularly during the 2002-07 expansion and during the 2008-09 recession, is examined in this report.

A Comparison of Arizona to Nations of Comparable Size, July 2009
Compares Arizona to 11 nations with developed economies of comparable size on a range of economic and demographic data.

The Contribution of Universities to Regional Economies, May 2009
A summary of 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.

Preparing for an Arizona of 10 Million People: Meeting the Infrastructure Challenges of Growth, November 2008
A shorter version of the background report (see below), this report was distributed at the infrastructure conference held at Arizona State University on November 17, 2008.

Preparing for an Arizona of 10 Million People: Meeting the Infrastructure Challenges of Growth – Background Report, October 2008
Arizona's infrastructure needs are placed into national and historical contexts, the changing conditions in infrastructure provision that make building Arizona's infrastructure in the future a more problematic proposition than in the past are identified, and projections of the possible costs of providing infrastructure in Arizona over the next quarter century are provided.

Targeting Federal Laboratories as a Catalyst for Private Investment in Research and Development, January 2008
A brief discussion of how the attraction of a federally funded research and development center would aid economic development, particularly private-sector research and development.

University Research and Local Economic Development, August 2006
A review of studies that examine the extent to which university research contributes to economic growth and development.

Lessons From the Irish Miracle, June 2005
An analysis of Ireland’s dramatic improvement in economic growth and prosperity, with comparisons to Arizona.

Related Articles and Reports

State Competitiveness Report, Beacon Hill Institute, annual

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

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

Why U.S. Business R&D Is Not as Strong as It Appears, The Information and Technology Foundation, June 2018

Industry Funding of University Research: Which States Lead?, The Information and Technology Foundation, January 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 State, Forbes, 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

Driving Innovation and Productivity, The Information and Technology Foundation, April 2014

Federally Supported Innovation, The Information and Technology Foundation, February 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

Innovative Thinking: Meeting Arizona's Infrastructure Needs, W. P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University, November 19, 2008

Heads Up, Arizona, Part 5: The Huge Cost of Transportation Infrastructure to 2032, W. P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University, August 13, 2008

Heads Up, Arizona, Part 4: The Cost of Telecommunications Infrastructure to 2032, W. P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University, July 30, 2008 

Heads Up, Arizona, Part 3: The Cost of Energy Infrastructure to 2032, W. P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University, June 18, 2008

Heads Up, Arizona, Part 2: The Cost of Water and Wastewater Infrastructure to 2032, W. P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University, June 4, 2008

Heads Up, Arizona, Part 1: The High Cost of Getting Ready for Growth, W. P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University, June 4, 2008

Developing a Globally Competitive Economy: Challenges and Opportunities, W. P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University, November 8, 2006

The Effects of University Research on Local Economies, W. P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University, September 13, 2006

Study: Tax-Break Incentives for Business Seldom Pay Off, W. P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University, May 10, 2005

Related Links

Arizona Commerce Authority

Brookings Institution

Council on Competitiveness

Greater Phoenix Economic Council

Harvard Business School Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness

National Competitiveness Council (Ireland)

Sun Corridor Inc.