Executive Summary

In the current context, in which the global markets are marked by growing uncertainty, ensuring the sources of capital for investments is one of the paramount conditions for achieving and sustaining economic growth and development.

For EU member states, there is the added benefit of accessing EU structural funding for investments, besides the capital markets, national budgets and public-private partnership. Whichever the source of funding might be, there is a necessary condition with regards to identification of the specific needs of a given economy, and the prioritisation of investment projects according to those needs.

It is clear that in the case of Romania there is an imminent necessity to develop several priority infrastructure projects as well as other development projects. However, many times it is difficult to properly understand and address the investments needs from a national, or increasingly European view-point. In a context in which structural funding is mostly directed to projects that provided “European added value”, there is a decreasing attention afforded to local needs, and opportunities.

This paper presents an original novel metric for assessing economic activity at local level: Local Business Environment Index (LBEI). In the development of this metric system we explore a large set of variables that are disaggregated at municipal level. Following the existent literature on the different drivers of economic development, we propose four major axes of assessment: entrepreneurship, innovation, investment financing, and public authorities’ support.