Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Escenarios para las regiones europeas y las provincias del Arco Latino

Affuso, Antonio and Camagni, Roberto and Capello, Roberta and Fratesi, Ugo (2011): Escenarios para las regiones europeas y las provincias del Arco Latino. Published in: Papers: Regió Metropolitana de Barcelona: Territori, estratègies, planejament No. 54 (2011): pp. 22-36.


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The paper is devoted to developing quantitative foresights on the three integrated scenarios presented in the previous chapter. In particular, a short summary of the methodological aspects of quantitative foresights is provided; and, especially, the empirical results obtained at regional and provincial level are described at length.

The need for anticipatory and far-seeing economic visions has always induced economists to seek reliable methodologies with which to produce insights into what the future will look like. Among existing alternative methodological exercises, the distinction between forecasts and foresights is useful, and it helps specify the approach used in this book. In general, a forecast aims to obtain precise values of specific economic variables in the future, on the basis of extrapolations from a system of past socio-economic relations. Exactly because they extrapolate from past tendencies, forecasts yield the best results in a short-term perspective. The aim of a forecasting exercise is, in general, to achieve a quantitative value in a certain year, paying little attention to the intermediate path, or to the feedback and adjustment processes by which the end value is determined.

Foresight is a radically different exercise. It is mostly qualitative in nature, and its aim is to provide an image of the future based on radical breaks, these being structural effects which destroy past tendencies. A new technological paradigm, new socio-cultural models, new political regimes are all examples of structural breaks in the elements regulating an economic system which give rise to completely new and radically different images of the future. A foresight is a possible, probable and sometimes desirable image of the future under the assumption that these events, or perhaps only one of them, will occur. Contrary to forecasts, foresights do not address the dynamic processes that will produce the final outcome; rather, they explore the general consistency of the final image by analysing all the adjustment processes that are likely to happen. In general, a foresight is built on an image of what the future will look like (explorative projections), but also of what the future should look like (desirable projections). Foresight provides insights into the future based on a structural and radical break with the past, and assuming in general a long-term perspective (usually decades).

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