This report provides a detailed examination of the role of broader scale socio-economic processes and place-based competitiveness in accounting for local employment growth for member of the Western Australian Regional Capitals Alliance (WARCA) over the period 2001- 2011. This report is the fourth in a series of reports that are intended to enhance understanding of the growth potential and local competitiveness of the members of WARCA both now and into the future. The evidence presented in this report suggests the following regarding recent changes in the prevailing economic structures of localities and local competitiveness:
• Engagement in the global economy and broader socio-economic processes, as reflected in the industry mix, has been important in driving economic growth across WARCA members.
• Nonetheless, local competitiveness is critical in both allowing localities to either overcome an unfavourable mix of industries or capitalize on their industry structure.
• The relative importance of local competitiveness and the ways in which localities engage with broader socio-economic processes varies significantly across localities.
• The qualitatively different experience of the WARCA members in terms the impact of local competitiveness and global engagement on growth potential questions the efficacy of a ‘one size fits all’ policy stance.
• While it is true that local attributes are important in contributing to growth, it is important not to underestimate the importance of external demand in driving development.
• Caution needs to be exercised in focusing excessively on local competitiveness as a means of developing the economies of the regional capitals.