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Smart Specialisation: insights from the North American periphery

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journal contribution
posted on 11.02.2020 by Andrew Crawley, Angela Hallowell

Smart Specialisation (S3) has been the driving force behind the European Union's regional innovation strategy for the last seven years. However, criticism has been levelled at the policy as lacking an evidence base. This paper tackles this gap in the literature by providing an empirical assessment of a strategy remarkably similar to S3: the Maine Economic Improvement Fund (MEIF). The paper finds that the MEIF has succeeded in increasing employment, but is less successful in increasing productivity. Given the similarity between the MEIF and S3, the paper provides important lessons for European practitioners and policy-makers implementing the strategy.


Andrew Crawley's research programme was supported by the Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station and by the Hatch Project [grant number 1016274] of the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food & Agriculture.