Economic diagnostics of regions

Conducting an effective regional policy requires in-depth analysis and diagnostics of the socio-economic development of the regions. If the subject of the analysis is the connections and dependencies of economic phenomena and processes in all their diversity, then the diagnosis, based on the results of the analysis, reveals the causes and magnitude of the deviation of economic processes in the region from the established norm on the basis of typical signs. In other words, economic diagnostics of the regions is the definition of the state, the allocation of problematic, depressive, crisis, as well as “overheated” and promising regions. Diagnostics allows you to determine the reliability of regional systems, identify “pain points”, bottlenecks in order to take adequate measures, reasonable management decisions, for which it is very important to find out the relationships, the relationships between:

supply and demand, which characterize the satisfaction of the needs of the population in goods and services; natural resource potential and the need for raw materials, energy and other environmental conditions on the part of economic entities and households in the region; sources of formation and expenditure of local budgets, as an important condition for economic independence and ensuring the integrated development of the region; the availability of labor resources and jobs, reflecting the possibility of rational use of labor potential; the volume of investments and production capacities of the construction industry; concentration of production, social infrastructure and population density; the growth rate of prices and incomes of the population; the volume of export and import, import and export, etc.

To carry out diagnostics, a system of interrelated meters is needed, which are the relevant statistical information and indicators of the state and development of the economy of the regions. The most important statistical information for diagnosing the region is general information about the region, as well as a set of macroeconomic indicators.

General information about the region characterizes the geographical position of the region (remoteness from raw material bases and areas-consumers of products), natural resources, the type of natural and climatic zone. At the same time, the administrative-territorial division of the region is characterized, the total number, national composition and population density are indicated, the place of the leading industries in the region’s economy is analyzed, and the following is also reflected:

the gross domestic product of the region, or gross regional product (GRP), which is defined as the sum of the gross value added produced during the reporting period by the resident institutional units of the regional economy. At the same time, gross value added is the difference between the value of goods and services produced in the reporting period (output) and the value of goods and services consumed during the same period of time (intermediate consumption). GRP is an analogue of the country’s GDP as a whole, although it has significant differences from it, since it does not include the cost of services provided to society as a whole (defense, state security, public administration, etc.); volume of industrial and agricultural products; profit on all types of economic activity; number of unemployed; savings and capital-forming investments; volume of retail turnover;

Based on the above data, a conclusion is drawn about the importance of the region in question among other subjects.

The complex of macroeconomic indicators for regional economic systems includes indicators characterizing the production and use of gross regional product, changes in the level of prices (inflation), the dynamics of changes in employment and the level of investment activity (bank loan rate) and other aspects of the financial and economic activities of the regions.

Such indicators for individual areas could include the following:

1. In the sphere of production: the volume of GRP; GRP per capita; GRP growth rates; the ratio of consumption growth rates and investment in fixed assets; growth of export potential of the region; index of physical volume of industrial production
(in comparable prices); the degree of depreciation of fixed production assets; share of unprofitable enterprises.

2. In the financial sphere: the rate on bank loans; growth rate of investments in fixed assets; index of the ratio of GRP and tax revenues to the regional budget; price level (the ratio of prices of the current and base periods); budgetary security of the region; the state of accounts payable and receivable in the region, including taxes.

3. In the social sphere: the level of the subsistence minimum; the share of wages in GRP; the ratio of the average monthly wage and the subsistence minimum; arrears in the payment of wages, pensions and benefits; the share of the population with incomes below the subsistence minimum in the total population; the level of financing of social programs from the regional budget; natural population decline and migration; the proportion of officially registered unemployed and the number of unemployed per place; dynamics of the total population of the region, active and employed population.

Additional and specific characteristics of regions and countries as a whole can be various macroeconomic indicators of their stability (instability). The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development offers
26 indicators characterizing the macroeconomic state of the country (region). The International Monetary Fund uses 10 key macroeconomic indicators for this purpose.

The entire set of indicators for assessing the development of regions is divided into the following groups:

1. Economic indicators, which include: the economic potential of the region and its use; volume and efficiency of production; the state of regional markets; investment activity; energy and food security; the region’s financial self-sufficiency; tax burden and availability of an independent tax base for the formation of local budgets; indicators of territorial structure, concentration of economic activity, level of diversification; ownership structure in the region.

2. Social indicators, including: the level of unemployment and employment in the region; dynamics of nominal and real incomes; structure of income and expenses; the ratio of the average monthly income and the subsistence minimum; consumption of material goods and services; level of infrastructure development, etc.

For a generalized assessment of the level of development and quality of life of people (social development of the region), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) recommends the indicator “Human Development Index” (HDI). The Human Development Index provides the most general integral assessment of the level of social development of the country and the region. It includes:

income as measured by GDP (GRP) per capita, taking into account different purchasing power in different regions; life expectancy, as measured by life expectancy at birth; knowledge, or level of education, measured by the number of literate persons or the duration of schooling, the number of persons with higher specialized education.

3. Environmental indicators, including: anthropogenic load on the territory; the level of pollutant emissions into the atmosphere; the state of surface water bodies and wastewater reserves, etc.

4. Demographic indicators characterizing information on the number of urban and rural population, on its sex and age structure, able-bodied population, level of education, population density, migration balance, etc.

5. Indicators of availability and use of resources in the region, which analyze the availability and status in the region:

labor potential, reflecting the number of labor resources, gender and age composition and professional level of their training (see paragraph 3.3); natural resource potential, which characterizes the availability of natural resources – land resources, forests, minerals, water, other types of limited natural resources and environmental conditions (see paragraph 3.2); production potential, which analyzes production capacities in the most general form: the valuation of capital resources, material working capital, know-how, etc. (see paragraph 3.4); the potential of infrastructure reflecting the development of social, production, managerial, environmental and market infrastructure (see paragraph 3.5).

Such a large number of indicators for assessing the development of regions causes significant difficulties in providing them with reliable and reliable statistical information, which prompts the search and use of the most important, generalizing, integral indices, to which, along with the above-described human development index, the following can be included:

gross regional product (GRP); the degree of pollution of the living environment, which can be characterized by the level of contamination with radionuclides, the degree of concentration of toxic substances in water, atmosphere, soil, etc .; the level of employment, calculated as the ratio of the number of residents employed in the national economy to the total value of labor resources or to the number of economically active people, etc.

Regional economic diagnostics is based on the use of both general scientific (systemic complex, genetic, problem approach) and special methods, among which the most important is the comparative method. In the most general sense, comparison is the establishment, identification of similarities and differences between the analyzed objects. The number of comparative features (indicators) should be large enough to solve the problem of typology of regions, which is understood as the allocation and grouping (classification) of regional entities. At the same time, preference is given to the methods of complex groupings, when the allocation of a set of regions into groups (types) is carried out according to two or more indicator signs taken in combination. Thus, it is possible to carry out typology by combining two indicators, for example, characterizing the level of economic and social development. As an example, we can offer a classification of regions according to the dynamics of industrial production (economic component) and incomes of the population (social component).

The Council for the Study of productive forces of the Russian Federation has developed a methodology for typology of regions, using three indicators: the level of socio-economic development; dynamism of socio-economic development; natural and geographical conditions (climate, position relative to the center of the country, gravitation to the regions of the world market, etc.). On the basis of these typological signs, three main types of problem regions are distinguished, in relation to which it is advisable to apply special methods of regulation: backward, depressive and crisis.

Finally, there is a typology of the regions on the main problems of regional development, based on the analysis of four groups of fundamental problems: economic, geopolitical, ethnic and environmental. At the same time, it should be pointed out that in practice a typology on the dynamics of one indicator is very often used. This  method involves the analysis of a single indicator (for example, the value of wages), the value of which is fixed in all the analyzed regions both in the observed and in the base year. At the same time, the totality of regions is divided into four groups:

1) regions that had an indicator level above the average value in both the baseline and the observed year;

2) regions in which the level of the indicator in the base year was higher, and in the observed year – below the average value;

3) regions where the level of the indicator in the base year was below the average, and then exceeded the average level;

4) regions where the level of the indicator in both the baseline and the observed year was below the average value.

For a comprehensive diagnosis of the development of regions, the method of multivariate comparative analysis is best suited, which involves the study of any region on the basis of a set (complex) of initial indicators presented in the form of a matrix of initial data (aij). At the same time, the best ones are selected from all the values of the indicators, as a result of which a hypothetical reference region with a matrix of optimal (best) parameters (max aij) is formed. The indicators for other regions (aij) are then divided by the corresponding values of these indicators for the reference region (max aij), resulting in a matrix of standardized coefficients (xij):

.                        (2)

The obtained coefficients are squared and multiplied by the ki weighting coefficients, determined by expert means. For each region, the results are added up, the square root is extracted from the found amount, resulting in a rating assessment of the region (Ri):

.        (3)

Rating scores are ranked, as a result of which the place of the region in terms of the level of development among other regions is determined.

In foreign practice, the method of summary ranking of regions has been widely used. At the same time, each region is ranked by the value of indicators, i.e. the place occupied by the region for each indicator is determined. The total rating of the region is determined by the sum of the places occupied by it in all parameters, and the highest rating is assigned to the region that has gained the minimum values of the sum of places.

In addition, in the economic diagnostics of the regions, the following are used:

modeling (mathematical and logical), when the properties of regions are determined on the basis of their ideal images-models, which makes it possible to use formalized calculation methods and computer tools for diagnostics; expert diagnostics based on the study of the opinions of professional specialists; inter-district models of intersectoral balances, based on the well-known intersectoral model of V. Leontiev, describing both material and material relationships between production and consumption of products and resources, and financial interrelations of the region (today the intersectoral model includes in the analysis a limited (about two dozen) number of industries).