Innovation, Italy better than Canada. But Calabria is a disaster

ROME Although the United States may seem far ahead when it comes to innovative regional ecosystems, the numbers show a different picture from what is expected from Europe but above all from Italy. On closer inspection, in fact, the German Länder are on average better positioned than the US states, while the regions of the Peninsula surpass the provinces of Canada. This is what emerges from the new ‘Transatlantic Subnational Innovation Competitiveness Index’ published jointly by four think tanks, members of the Global Trade and Innovation Alliance (GTIPA): the Institute for Competitiveness (I-Com), the US Information Technology and Innovation Foundation ( ITIF), the German Economic Institute (IW) and the Canadian Macdonald-Laurier Institute (MLI).
The study, the results of which will be presented and discussed today at 6pm in a roundtable at the European Parliament in Brussels, examines the innovation ecosystems of 96 states, provinces and subnational regions of the United States, Germany, Italy and Canada using 13 indicators of competitiveness in 3 categories: knowledge economy, globalization and innovation capacity. From the analysis it stands out how the German states overall obtain better results than those of the United States, Italy and Canada, even if three of the top five states in the general ranking are USA. In fact, Massachusetts, California, Baden-Württemberg, Berlin and Washington excel, while Puglia, West Virginia, Sicily, Calabria and Mississippi are in the last places. The index also highlights the differences between individual regions within each country: Germany’s western and southern Länder outperform the northeastern ones, coastal regions in the United States lead, in Italy the north sets the pace and in Canada prevailed by British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec.

Calabria in last place in the ranking of the regions

Leading the ranking of the Italian regions is Emilia Romagna (in 17th place) followed by Lombardy (28th), Piedmont (35 °), Lazio (36 °) and Friuli Venezia Giulia (39 °). At the bottom of the ranking Molise (86th), Sardinia (88th), Puglia (92 °), Sicily (94 °) and Calabria (95 °). As for the indicators of the knowledge economy, where the United States outperforms all in higher education, Canada attracts the most skilled immigrant workers and Germany instead employs the most innovative workforce, Italy shows the flank by obtaining both the lowest average score is the primacy of the worst positioned region (Sicily).
The Peninsula lags behind its counterparts in each of the four indicators that make up this category. If we take into account the percentage of the population between 25 and 64 years with a degree, the Peninsula occupies the last 5 places of the ranking with Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Puglia and Sicily. If the regions of the South reach only about 16% on average, the North and the Center perform better. In particular, Lazio, with a strong prevalence of universities and the ability to intercept internal flows of qualified talents, shows a ratio of over 26%, the first Italian region. In a decidedly negative picture for Italy, the exception is the ratio between employees employed in professional, technical and scientific activities (PTS) and total employees. Lazio and Lombardy, which benefit from many universities and centers of national importance, are in fact positioned respectively in 4th and 5th place in the overall ranking, registering a share of more than 15%.

High-tech exports: Calabria lagging behind

In the category of globalization, which takes into account foreign direct investment relative to GDP and high-tech exports as a percentage of GDP, Germany scores far better than other countries in general, which is not surprising given its place in the single market of the European Union and its high export intensity. However, the first place goes to Lombardy, which ranks ahead of Bavaria, Ontario, Baden-Württemberg and Hesse. Lombardy marks the absolute first place thanks to the 8th place in foreign direct investments and 12th in high technology exports. Piedmont and Emilia-Romagna also did well, also ranking in the top 10, followed by Friuli Venezia Giulia (in 11th place), again thanks to the high concentration of high-tech exports. For the Peninsula, however, it is a “tale in two halves”: of the 10 regions with the lowest score in category 5 are southern Italy, with Molise fourth from bottom and Calabria lagging behind. In innovation capacity, in which Germany and Canada have clear leadership in broadband access and the United States leads the way in venture capital and business creation, Italy scores surprisingly well thanks to the results. indicators covering R&D personnel, business creation and carbon efficiency, where it eclipses the United States. Emilia-Romagna, the region with the highest score, ranks 13th in the category, driven by a 2nd place in the ranking of R&D personnel. Emilia-Romagna also ranks 20th in patent production and 22nd in carbon efficiency. Furthermore, it should be noted the 4th position obtained by Molise in the indicator of business creation, and the 3rd and 5th position occupied by Campania and Marche respectively on the decarbonisation front. On the other hand, bad for what concerns the risk capital, with Umbria, Molise, Marche, Basilicata and Abruzzo at the bottom of the ranking, as well as with regard to patents, which see Campania, Calabria, Sardinia, Molise and Sicily in the last 5 places.

Innovation, Italy better than Canada. But Calabria is a disaster