The Local

Systemic Competitiveness

An analytical concept formulated by a group of researchers (Klaus Esser, Wolfgang Hillebrand, Dirk Messner, Jörg Meyer-Stamer) at German Development Institute since the 1990s. The main messages:

  • Dynamic economic development is not only based on functioning markets and individual entrepreneurship but also on collective efforts to shape a supportive environment for business development.
  • To understand the dynamics of industrial development it is crucial to analyze not only the micro- and the macro-level, i.e. markets and macro-economic framework conditions.
  • We introduce two further analytical levels: The meso- and the meta-level.
At the meso-level we address specific policies (such as technology policy, industrial policy, regional policy, etc.) and the institutional and organizational environment which supports firms.

At the meta-level we address the capability of actors at the local, regional, national or even supra-national level to create favorable conditions for industrial dynamism.

The economic performance of a local, regional or national economy reflects the interaction between factors at all four levels, which can create predominantly virtuous circles or vicious circles.

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Systemic Competitiveness Benchmarking Table (PDF, 70 kB)

Audio file: Jörg Meyer-Stamer and Shawn Cunningham discuss the Systemic Competitiveness concept (14 MB!)


Jörg Meyer-Stamer, Systemic Competitiveness and Local Economic Development, Book contribution, 2008 (PDF, 250 kB)

Jörg Meyer-Stamer, Making market systems work? For the poor? In: Small Enterprise Development, Vol.17, 2006, No. 4 (PDF, 387 KB)

Jörg Meyer-Stamer, Systemic Competitiveness Revisited. Conclusions for Technical Assistance in Private Sector Development. Mimeo, 2005 (PDF)

Jörg Meyer-Stamer, Was ist Meso? Systemische Wettbewerbsfähigkeit: Analyseraster, Benchmarking-Tool und Handlungsrahmen. Duisburg, INEF-Report 55 / 2001 (PDF, 301 KB)

Jörg Meyer-Stamer, Strategien lokaler/regionaler Entwicklung: Cluster, Standortpolitik und systemische Wettbewerbsfähigkeit, in: Nord-Süd aktuell, 3/1999 (PDF-file, 120 kb)

Tilman Altenburg, Wolfgang Hillebrand and Jörg Meyer-Stamer, Building Systemic Competitiveness. Concept and Case Studies from Mexico, Brazil, Paraguay, Korea and Thailand. Berlin: German Development Institute (PDF-File, 872 kB)

Jörg Meyer-Stamer, Systemische Wettbewerbsfähigkeit und Standort- und Industriepolitik: Ansatzpunkte für die Technische Zusammenarbeit mit Brasilien. Berlin: Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (Berichte und Gutachten 3/1997) (PDF-File (446 Kb))

Klaus Esser, Wolfgang Hillebrand, Dirk Messner and Jörg Meyer-Stamer, Systemic Competitiveness. New Governance Patterns for Industrial Development. London: Frank Cass (PDF-File)

Klaus Esser, Wolfgang Hillebrand, Dirk Messner and Jörg Meyer-Stamer, Systemische Wettbewerbsfähigkeit: Neue Anforderungen an Unternehmen und Politik, in: DIW Vierteljahreshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung, Jg. 64, 1995, Nr. 2, S.186-99

Competitividad sistémica: Nuevo desafío a las empresas y a la política (Klaus Esser / Wolfgang Hillebrand / Dirk Messner / Jörg Meyer-Stamer)
Revista de la CEPAL, Santiago 1996, No. 59, pág. 39 - 52

Competitividad sistémica. Competitividad internacional de las empresas y políticas requeridas (Klaus Esser / Wolfgang Hillebrand / Dirk Messner / Jörg Meyer-Stamer)
Instituto Alemán de Desarrollo, Berlin 1994