Identifying revealed comparative advantages (RCAs) in an EU regional context

Client/Funding Institution

European Commission, DG Enterprise and Industry


EU Cohesion Policy sets a framework to reduce differences between regions and to ensure growth across Europe. For regional policy strategies to be effective, and for an efficient use of the available funds, it is crucial to analyse in detail the assets each region is endowed with, the technologies available, and the business connections among different regions. Against this background, the study evaluated EU regions' international competitiveness on the basis of their Revealed Comparative Advantage (RCA), complemented by additional trade indicators such as trade balances or export specialisation and a series of regional and sectoral characteristics such as skill supply, R&D and patents. Subsequently, the best and worst performing regions were analysed to identify best-practice examples for regional strategies and specific policy approaches. For this study, wiiw developed a model to consistently estimate foreign trade flows (export and imports) at the NUTS-2 regional level.


February 2014 - December 2015

wiiw team Leader

Roman Römisch

wiiw Staff

Veronika Janyrova, Roman Römisch

Project Partners


Related News

Keywords: EU Cohesion Policy, regional economics, regional policy, revealed comparative advantage, RCA, trade, export specialisation, skill supply, R&D, patents, foreign trade flows

Countries covered: EU-28

Research Areas: Regional Development