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Smart economic development patterns in Europe: interaction with competitiveness

Jurgita Bruneckienė (School of Economics and Business, Kaunas University of Technology, Kaunas, Lithuania)
Jonas Rapsikevičius (School of Economics and Business, Kaunas University of Technology, Kaunas, Lithuania)
Mantas Lukauskas (Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Kaunas University of Technology, Kaunas, Lithuania)
Ineta Zykienė (School of Economics and Business, Kaunas University of Technology, Kaunas, Lithuania)
Robertas Jucevičius (School of Economics and Business, Kaunas University of Technology, Kaunas, Lithuania)

Competitiveness Review

ISSN: 1059-5422

Article publication date: 23 August 2021

Issue publication date: 7 February 2023




This paper aims to investigate the smart economic development (SED) patterns in Europe in relation to competitiveness. Motivational focus corresponds to global events: the fourth industrial revolution, transition to a low-carbon economy, economic shocks (such as the 2008 financial crisis, Brexit or the coronavirus pandemic), which requires rethinking development policies, targeting competitiveness increase and reducing imbalances in economic development.


The analysis includes self-organising neural networks cluster analysis and correlations, comparative analysis of SED indicators structure and cumulative index estimation with World Economic Forum (WEF) global competitiveness index. The panel data set of 19 years from 2000 to 2018 for 30 European countries.


Overall, cross-country examination suggests that European countries of higher competitiveness illustrate higher estimates in SED. The key determinants are juridical fairness, social responsibility, competence building, intelligence and welfare employment to develop smart patterns for reaching higher competitiveness.

Research limitations/implications

The limitations relate to the particular sample of European countries and gathering statistical data and a methodology of the SED index calculation. In addition, the paper contains a macroeconomic environment focus on competitiveness estimation. Further research may be improved with micro and mezzo environment incorporation at a cross-country analysis level.

Practical implications

By linking well-known terms of competitiveness and economic development with a concept of smartness, new approaches to policymaking emerged. The methodology presented in this paper has implications for territorial cohesion policies, competitiveness and branching strategies. The combination of SED sub-indexes and WEF GCI might aid a more accurate ex ante measurement.

Social implications

The findings are essential for fostering a smart approach in economic development for long-term competitiveness.


This paper provides original empirical evidence about the relationship between SED and competitiveness and adds new knowledge that smartness becomes a way for building countries’ competitiveness by identified two profiles of SED patterns by development stages, namely, integrated to economic development and institutional-based which is divided to focus and balanced.



Funding: This research was supported by the Research, Development and Innovation Fund of Kaunas University of Technology (Project Grant No. PP-91R/19).

Conflicts of interest/Competing interests: The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Availability of data and material: Only official data was used from databases of Eurostat, World Bank, IMF, World Justice Project, Transparency International and

Authors' contributions: Jurgita Bruneckiene conceived the idea and together with Robertas Jucevicius and Ineta Zykiene wrote and revised the manuscript alongside with Jonas Rapsikevicius and Mantas Lukauskas; Jonas Rapsikevicius and Mantas Lukauskas organized and performed the data analyses and interpreted data. All authors approved the final manuscript.


Bruneckienė, J., Rapsikevičius, J., Lukauskas, M., Zykienė, I. and Jucevičius, R. (2023), "Smart economic development patterns in Europe: interaction with competitiveness", Competitiveness Review, Vol. 33 No. 2, pp. 302-331.



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