50th Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "Sustainable Regional Growth and Development in the Creative Knowledge Economy", 19-23 August 2010, Jönköping, Sweden
Being competitive in a globalized world have several meanings according to the topic taken into account. This paper focuses on the attractiveness of places, as we assume that being a popular place is an advantage for global competition. And our main question here is to catch the mental maps of the future elite, and to do it on a world scale. We realized an international survey on more than 10000 undergraduate students from 18 countries in 43 cities. The sample was stratified according to five academic fields (geography, art, medicine, political science, management). The first part of the questionnaire allow us to get explanatory variables like age, gender, spoken languages, field of study, socioeconomic background and mobility practices. The second part of the questionnaire is related with places where students would and would not like to live in a near future. We asked the question for both cities and countries - quoting his/her own country was not allowed. Both questions were asked because we expected different results; some global cities might have a really positive image even if the country where it's located is often quoted negatively. Preliminary results show that it's typically the case for some North-American cities like New-York or San-Francisco. The first step was to compare two basics indicators : the first one regards the knowledge aspect (a country/a city is quoted or not), the second one is an asymmetry index between positive and negative quotations. These two indicators were then used as input to built a gravity model to explain (part of) the results. As expected (at least by geographers), size and distance still matter, specially regarding the knowledge indicator. Regarding asymmetry, situation is much more balanced and need complementary explorations. A further step will be to built a logit model in order to control sample size effects and to see, all things being equal, which countries and cities are the most competitive from an attractiveness point of view.