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Economic Development In The European Super-Periphery: Evidence From The Western Balkans


  • Will Bartlett


This paper argues that the conflicts that afflicted the Western Balkan region in the 1990s pushed the countries into the European ‘super-periphery’, characterised by deindustrialisation and high unemployment, ethnic and regional fragmentation, political turmoil, and instability. Integration into international trade has been disrupted, leading to chronic balance of payments deficits. Low inflows of international capital, due to high country risk, have hindered technological catch-up and weakened international competitiveness. An unattractive environment for productive entrepreneurship has created barriers to the entry of SMEs, and at the same time large informal economies. Several countries have become labour-export economies, with significant outflows of skilled labour. Economic development follows a low-skill growth path. The current global economic crisis is having a further deleterious effect as export revenues, foreign direct investment, and labour remittances all diminish. Furthermore, as transition has proceeded, disparities between capital cities and rural areas have increased, while weak administrative capacities have hindered the implementation of effective local development policies to counteract these effects. Endogenous local development cannot provide an alternative to greater engagement with the global economy. The conclusion is that the countries of the region have been left out of the most beneficial elements of the globalisation process, while simultaneously suffering from its main defects. Without a faster process of accession to the EU, local disparities are likely to widen, and the region may remain within the European super-periphery for the foreseeable future.

Suggested Citation

  • Will Bartlett, 2009. "Economic Development In The European Super-Periphery: Evidence From The Western Balkans," Economic Annals, Faculty of Economics, University of Belgrade, vol. 54(181), pages 21-44, April – J.
  • Handle: RePEc:beo:journl:v:54:y:2009:i:181:p:21-44

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. World Bank & World Bank, . "Albania : Poverty Assessment," World Bank Other Operational Studies, The World Bank, number 14605, March.
    2. Metka Stare, 2005. "Regional landscape of services in Central and Eastern European countries," The Service Industries Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 25(4), pages 477-491, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Khurshid Djalilov & Jens Hölscher, 2016. "Comparative Analyses Of The Banking Environment In Transition Countries," Economic Annals, Faculty of Economics, University of Belgrade, vol. 61(208), pages 7-26, January -.
    2. Predrag Četković, 2015. "The Role of Banks in Economic Development in the Former SFR Yugoslavia," wiiw Balkan Observatory Working Papers 114, The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies, wiiw.
    3. Will Bartlett, 2014. "Shut out? South East Europe and the EU’s New Industrial Policy," LEQS – LSE 'Europe in Question' Discussion Paper Series 84, European Institute, LSE.
    4. Garača Vuk & Vukosav Svetlana & Stamenković Igor & Košić Kristina & Bradić Milan, 2020. "The Impact of New Global Economic Crisis on the Social Function of Spas and Climatic Resorts in Serbia," Economic Themes, Sciendo, vol. 58(2), pages 255-273, June.
    5. Goran Radosavljeviæ & Mihajlo Babin & Miloš Eriæ & Jelisaveta Lazareviæ, 2020. "Income convergence between Southeast Europe and the European Union," Zbornik radova Ekonomskog fakulteta u Rijeci/Proceedings of Rijeka Faculty of Economics, University of Rijeka, Faculty of Economics, vol. 38(2), pages 499-519.
    6. Vedran Recher, 2019. "Tobacco smuggling in the Western Balkan region: Exploring habits, attitudes, and predictors of illegal tobacco demand," Working Papers 1901, The Institute of Economics, Zagreb.
    7. Klodian Muco & Greta Balliu, 2018. "Crescita economica e corruzione: quale impatto nei paesi balcanici? (Growth and corruption: What impact in the Balkan countries?)," Moneta e Credito, Economia civile, vol. 71(284), pages 297-309.

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    More about this item


    Economic development; transition; comparative economics; local economic development;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O52 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Europe
    • O57 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Comparative Studies of Countries
    • P51 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems - - - Comparative Analysis of Economic Systems
    • R58 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - Regional Development Planning and Policy


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