Importance The paper develops methodological issues of comparative assessment of the economic development of such objects of analysis as countries and sub-national regions. Objectives The paper aims to develop a method to select regions for their comparative analysis. The study focuses on identifying the idiosyncratic features of a particular region, setting all general matters aside. Methods We propose a multi-step approach to achieving the desired goal. To do this, we used a non-hierarchical method of cluster analysis (k-means method) and the comparative analysis. Results The region selection procedures for comparative analysis make it possible to identify a group of seven regions competing for markets and resources with the model region, namely, the Chelyabinsk oblast. As a result of the analysis, it was found that export growth and reduced relative dependence on government spending were the oblast's strengths between 1999 and 2015. Investment activity sufficiently lower in comparison with the immediate competitors' one and the quality of higher education were the weaknesses of the oblast.
Keywords: economic development, regional economy, regional development policy, regional typology
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