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Central and Eastern Europe: Catching up or lagging behind?


  • Zoltán T. Polyánszky

    () (University of Pécs Faculty of Economics Pécs France)


The rosy reports of the EU on Central and Eastern European regional development and EU-wide regional convergence are based on the GDP per capita positions of NUTS-2 regions, expressed in percentage of the EU average. This approach is reflected also in the regulation of eligibility for Objective 1 structural transfers. The article analyses whether this relative measurement of catching up or lagging behind is realistic, or other methods yield different results. We reveal that by substituting absolute numbers (that is, GDP per capita in PPS) for percentages, the position of the Central and Eastern European regions related to the EU average turns just the opposite. Calculated in PPS, the difference between the per capita GDP of almost 90% of the new members’ NUTS-2 regions and the EU average increased between 1995 and 2006. This puts both EU cohesion policy and the prospects of the Central and Eastern European region into a different light.

Suggested Citation

  • Zoltán T. Polyánszky, 2012. "Central and Eastern Europe: Catching up or lagging behind?," Society and Economy, Akadémiai Kiadó, Hungary, vol. 34(3), pages 399-421, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:aka:soceco:v:34:y:2012:i:3:p:399-421

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    More about this item


    regional convergence; statistical effect; Central and Eastern Europe;

    JEL classification:

    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes


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