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The Competitive Advantage of Nations: origins and journey

Robert Huggins (Centre for Economic Geography, Cardiff School of Planning and Geography, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK)
Hiro Izushi (Economics and Strategy Group, Aston Business School, Birmingham, UK)

Competitiveness Review

ISSN: 1059-5422

Article publication date: 19 October 2015




The purpose of this paper is to provide an understanding of the origins and journey of the fundamental ideas underpinning Michael Porter’s The Competitive Advantage of Nations as a means of assessing its influence.


Drawing on a reflection of the book’s text and associated works by Porter, the paper shows how Porter’s thinking evolved from his earlier writings, as well as how his ideas went through further periods of development following the publication of The Competitive Advantage of Nations.


The paper focuses on the emergence of Porter’s cluster theory and his growing acknowledgement of the role of innovation within processes of economic development. It shows how these concepts have provided a foundation for contemporary economic development practices. Also, the paper highlights how the fundamental concepts of Porter’s text have shifted from a unit of analysis focused on nations to one where subnational regions are the primary analytical unit.


The paper concludes by suggesting that the nature of Porter’s conceptual insights is likely to ensure the long-term endurance of the fundamental lessons contained within The Competitive Advantage of Nations.



Huggins, R. and Izushi , H. (2015), "The Competitive Advantage of Nations: origins and journey", Competitiveness Review, Vol. 25 No. 5, pp. 458-470.



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Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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