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Microeconomics of Competitiveness


Guest Editors

Álvaro Bruno Cyrino

EBAPE - Fundação Getulio Vargas


Pablo Collazzo

Lauder Business School


José Eduardo Storopoli
PPGA - Universidade Nove de Julho



Fernando Antonio Ribeiro Serra

PPGA - Universidade Nove de Julho


Guest Editorial Assistant

Nairana Radtke Caneppele Bussler

PPGA - Universidade Nove de Julho


Editorial Assistant – IJSM Journal

Gabryela Medeiros

Publisher – University UNINOVE


Social and economic development results from varied and complex interactions in a given society through the involvement and legitimization of coordinated individual and collective actions that define different historical trajectories for firms, regions and countries. Analyses of different experiences and their results, combined with the increasing store of knowledge in the fields of the social sciences, are helping societies to expand the horizon of short, medium and long-term alternatives among the multiple dimensions. Therefore, to describe how to develop an economic strategy for a country or region implies analyzing multiple layers and fields (federal, state and local), as well as entities such as governments, companies, industrial associations and universities. Microeconomics of Competitiveness provides a holistic framework, even though it focuses on the microeconomic and business environments, for describing and analyzing the pursuit of sustainable and continuous improvement.

For regional and local competitiveness strategies to be effective, there are several dimensions that are likely to be linked to the sophistication of companies´ operations, the business environment, the inherited factor endowments and the situation in which clusters are developing, improving, innovating and learning to strengthen economic and social ties.  The success of the microeconomic environment is dependent on the nation’s monetary and fiscal policies, as well as human and effective development supported by public institutions and organizations. Therefore, the objective of this special edition of the Iberoamerican Journal of Strategic Management is to publish studies related to Microeconomics of Competitiveness which may fall under the themes described below.


Aims and Scope


This special edition aims to present studies related to Microeconomics of Competitiveness. The special edition seeks to cover different national and institutional sectorial configurations through papers that provide a deeper understanding of strategies in this context, using diverse methods and data sources.


Suggested topics and research questions


1)Definitions, indicators and determinants of competitiveness

Firms become increasingly competitive in global markets and need to address international standards of quality. Since firms are embedded in local and regional business environments, the nature of institutions, practices and resources directly affects their growth and productivity. At the national level, the macroeconomic environment and institutions have traditionally received significant attention as a key determinant of competitiveness. Despite the recognition of the relationship between the macro- and microeconomic and institutional environment with regard to firm level competitiveness, the literature on the subject is filled with gaps and controversies on the nature and importance of these relationships, not to mention the methods for measuring them.

What are the main drivers of competitiveness at each level of analysis? What metrics are best suited for measuring competitiveness at each level? As nested phenomena, what is the importance of each (macro, meso, micro, firm) level concerning overall local/regional competitiveness? What is the nature and direction of the causation? How can strong competition between companies in the environment in which the cluster is inserted foster the development of competitive advantage for the organizations that compose it? How do we account for and relate different stages of cluster maturity to its performance? Could it be said that there is a cycle for gaining competitive advantages? How is it possible to understand the consumer as a determinant of competitiveness between organizations?


2) Geographical influences on competitiveness

The region is an important economic unit for competitiveness, since it can be formed by clusters, which have a direct impact not only on regional performance, but also on the overall local path to development.

Does economic performance vary significantly across subnational regions such as provinces, states and metropolitan areas? Can development policies deliver better economic results if significant resources, accountability and decentralization policies are applied? How can economic cooperation between regions favor positive economic performance? Does regional and national integration promote competitiveness, open trade and investments between neighbors? Is open trade between neighboring regions conducive to attracting investment? Are synergies in policy, infrastructure and other improvements in clusters influencing international negotiations? Do regional commitments help overcome domestic policy and economic barriers to reform? How does globalization affect the advantages of Porter’s (1990) Diamond at the local and regional level?


3) Cluster-based Development Policy and its Impact on Economic Performance

Governments at any level, local firms and business associations promote, develop and implement public policies and programs focused on cluster development. These can take different forms, such as industrial districts and technological poles. These policies have had mixed results and vary between having little significant impact and having a high influence on economic growth.

Do public policies on clusters provide a framework for organizing the implementation of investments intended to achieve economic development? Should clusters be considered an important locus for economic policy by fostering links between companies driving economic development? How do collaboration links and programs between the private sector, trade associations, government and educational and research institutions affect economic and social outputs? Are cluster initiatives a powerful public and private vehicle for identifying and aligning regional issues? Can the favorable performance of a cluster promote the development of the region where it is located? Under what conditions do knowledge leakages occur and how do they affect the competitiveness of the cluster?


4)National and Regional Economic Strategy for Competitiveness

National and regional economic development strategies should be linked to building prosperity, which will foster the expected results to achieve and maintain parity with peers for successful economic development, and improving income distribution as a systemic challenge in Latin America.

National strategies and policies usually include incentives that affect most regions and industries operating in a specific country without considering the unique configuration of regions and cities. Moreover, they are usually conceived and implemented in a top-down and segmented approach, with each specialized government unit focusing on its mandates, without considering the potential complementarities, conflicting goals and resource dispersion among the different national government agencies. As for regional/local economic development strategies and initiatives, the focus is on local economic actions, implying a more granular approach and a focused collaboration between firms, public agencies and institutes.  

What is the role of a national value proposition tied to national and regional economic strategies? How do you provide a guiding vision for policymakers and executives of private companies regarding what kinds of improvements are most critical in order to make economic success a reality? How do you promote a new model of economic development with a focus on competitiveness, not just job creation? Should a new model of economic development be driven by an integrated strategy rather than a list of functional goals? Are bottom-up regional development initiatives more effective than top-down national ones? What is the role of clusters in creating jobs, better salaries, and new business formation in today's global economy? In what way is it possible to promote collaboration between a broad range of actors and institutions, including business, educational and economic institutions and development organizations striving to generate strategies that promote economic development? How does the lack of continuity affect the effectiveness and impact of competitiveness initiatives?


5) Cluster Organization for Competitiveness

As a bottom-up model of  economic development through a collaborative process involving government at various levels, local and foreign companies, industries, associations, research institutions and other actors, clusters need to establish formal and informal coordination of their program initiatives and actions. The organization and governance of clusters vary according to their stage of maturity, specific industry, regional/local institutional environment and available resources.

How do different forms of organization affect cluster performance? Are there more effective ways to design cluster governance systems? Are there patterns of cluster organization and governance systems that are contingent on cluster maturity? How do you gather coordination structures from all the actors in the search for an integrated economic strategy and action agenda?


6) Prosperity and Social Progress

Macroeconomic policies are important but not sufficient to promote competitiveness. The government needs to play a greater role at the microeconomic level by removing obstacles to growth and contribute to upgrading the Diamond (Porter, 1990) so that firms can unlock productivity. The improvement of human and social conditions plays a significant role, as these conditions enablers of productivity gains and innovation initiatives, both crucial for competitiveness.

How can the historical circumstances of a cluster promote competitiveness among its constituent organizations? In which cases have the availability of skilled labor qualifications and university research, through the convenience of physical location and appropriate infrastructure, generated competitive advantages for organizations? How can we understand macroeconomics as dependent on microeconomics through national policies linked to business decisions?


Submission Process

Papers must be submitted in accordance with the requirements of the Iberoamerican Journal of Strategic Management (IJSM). Original manuscripts should reach us by the Submission Deadline of 30 September 2019, and must be submitted using the IJSM Submission system at <Online Submissions>. Authors should indicate that they would like the submission to be considered for the special issue “Microeconomics of Competitiveness”. Authors whose papers require revision and resubmission will be expected to work to a tight deadline.


Further Information

Questions pertaining to this special issue may be directed to Nairana Radtke Caneppele Bussler – Guest Editorial Assistant ( / +55-11-3823-9123).