Any country is interested in economic growth regardless of its development level in any period; yet an increasingly important role in defining growth is played by the term ‘smart growth’. The EU development strategy until 2020 defines smart growth as a strategic objective. Smart growth does not take place automatically. It is affected both by the condition of the economic, social and natural environments and by subjective factors - the competence of performance agents. The present research distinguished three groups of rural space and regional performance agents: national institutions, local governments and communities of residents of the territories examined by the research. The research summarised the opinions of experts (Latvia n=171; Lithuania n=163) from the south-eastern part of Latvia and the north-eastern part of Lithuania with the purpose of assessing the contribution of the performance agent groups to the promotion of smart economic growth. The research aimed to identify the positive indications of the contribution made by each performance agent group as well as the largest problems affecting the promotion of smart economic growth in each country. Despite the fact that the sample groups were not representative (did not reflect the views of the entire population), the obtained survey data and the results of this analysis provided insight into the performance agents’ action ratings from the bottom-up position and allowed comparing the situations in Latvia and Lithuania. The research has become an urgent task in project No. 5.2.3 “Rural and Regional Development Processes and Opportunities in Latvia in the Context of Knowledge Economy” in National Research Programme 5.2. "Economic Transformation, Smart Growth, Governance and Legal Framework for the State and Society for Sustainable Development - a New Approach to the Creation of a Sustainable Learning Community: EKOSOC-LV”.
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