This lets me paint such areas as 'islands' of technological development in an otherwise less established outland. For an example I haven't published yet, the territory of Agra - where the Taj Mahal has been more or less completed in my world, with some minor work still ongoing - has a tech level of 17. It only occupies 4.4 hexes. This, however, makes the region perfectly suited for a highly civilized Indian campaign. Nearby Hindustan, 14 million people and 187 hexes, has a tech level of 14 . . . which I find quite acceptable, even enjoying the fact that a significant portion of India is far more advanced than parts of Spain, France or Germany recognized for their technical contributions.
That's because the system I'm developing isn't based on military glory or technological supremacy, but upon culture and interpersonal associations. Hindustan in the 17th century was absolutely unconquerable by the West; most of the people did read and write, were well-versed in their social responsibilities and completely content with their roles. It would be more comfortable for you or I to dwell in 17th century Delhi than in 17th century Florence, also a tech 14 region.
It isn't like any of the world at this time was peaceful and light. Heck, absolute monarchy wasn't intellectually challenged until 1690.