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The World Knowledge Competitiveness Index 2008

The 2008 edition of the WKCI compares 145 regions across 19 knowledge economy benchmarks (full data for all indicators across each of the 19 benchmarks is contained in the accompanying Excel spreadsheets). This represents an increase of twenty regions compared to the last edition in 2005: nine from Europe, eight from North America, and three from Asia Pacific. These new regions were selected on the basis of a survey of a wide range of regions appearing to be become more internationally competitive. This year�s report also contains a special chapter on economic development in the three leading Chinese regions.

Executive Summary

Once again, at the top of the index is the US metropolitan area of San Jose (248.3). The region, the home of Silicon Valley, continues to lead the WKCI rankings by some distance, due to its enormous investment in knowledge-intensive business development, in particular in the fields of high-technology engineering, computers, and microprocessors. Despite the onset of the dot-com crash earlier in the decade, San Jose has remained a clear leader across a number of knowledge employment sectors, as well as ranking amongst the top regions worldwide for investment in education and business R&D, as well as for corresponding economic output indicators such as productivity and earnings.

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World Knowledge Competitiveness Index 2008

Very Strong Productivity Score

Remaining in second place in 2008 is the metropolitan area of Boston, a region which thrives on high levels of intellectual and financial capital. Boston, is of course, synonymous with higher education, and is home to eight research universities including Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Hartford moves further up the index to third, with its score boosted by very strong results for both R&D spending and private equity investment, which translate into a very strong productivity score: Hartford ranks as the highest region worldwide by productivity in our rankings. The neighbouring Connecticut region of Bridgeport, a new region in this year�s index, enters in an impressive fourth place while San Francisco slips two places to fifth.

Stockholm moves up two places to sixth position, and the continued improvement of the region�s ranking has been based on gains across a range of indicators � in particular, business R&D spending, biotechnology and chemical sector employment, and higher education spending. Tokyo moves up from twenty-second to ninth position, while Shiga, West Sweden and West Netherlands all move into the top twenty.

The new regions of Iceland (14th) and Pohjois-Suomi (20th) (Finland) dilute the influence of North American regions at the top of the ranking. The top twenty now contains thirteen US regions, five European regions and two Japanese regions.

Emerging Regions

At the foot of rankings we continue to find the Chinese, Indian and Eastern European regions � the lowest ranked being Bangalore, Mumbai and Hyderabad. Amongst the emerging regions in the index, Shanghai continues to perform best, increasing its ranking one again despite the entry of twenty new regions, mostly from Europe and the US. Shanghai is now ahead of the likes of Berlin and British Columbia, which shows how far the most developed amongst the Chinese regions has come in recent years. Also, our index of Regional Knowledge Intensity (a measurecomparing the underlying knowledge base of a region in relation to its direct economic output) is headed by the Guangdong region of China.


The World Knowledge Competitiveness Index 2008 contains over 50 pages and complete Excel spreadsheets of both National and Regional benchmarks. Please visit our Downloads section to obtain the 2008 report.


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