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Tolerance, Amenities and Economic Systems

This study examines how regional development of the knowledge economy can be stimulated. Development of knowledge economies at the regional level is viewed as an important area for continued economic growth and has been designated to be of great significance as part of the EU's Lisbon Strategy. Nordregio Electronic Working Paper 2009:2

The growing importance of the knowledge economy as a driver of regional stimulus in Europe because of the high value-added nature of its products has been further intensified by the continued restructuring of global economics. This suggests that the role of the knowledge economy will be central to European development in the coming years.

Given the enduring nature of economic development and the wide variety of other factors at play, the effects of implementing specific strategies are often difficult to measure over a short period of time. To mitigate this shortcoming, a review of the theoretical critiques and real world examples, including cases from Sweden, the Netherlands and the United States, can help provide policy makers with the information necessary to make properly informed decisions.

Through a review of the most pertinent contemporary theories - the Creative Class, Skilled Cities and Local Production Systems theories - the risks and rewards of various strategies regarding the development of regional knowledge economies are surveyed. Examples from Europe and North America are employed to provide a more detailed understanding of the central themes of development. Through this study, it is clear that each of the theories recognizes the complex nature of the development process and that no theory is entirely correct or incorrect. Further, each recognizes the importance of tailoring policies to meet the specific needs of distinct regions and the fallacy of viewing economic development as a linear process. In the context of this review, it is apparent that a combination of theories, in concert with local factors, usually offers a region the greatest opportunity for success.