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Regional disparities in the European Union: Convergence and agglomeration

  • Kurt Geppert
  • Andreas Stephan

Economic disparities between the regions of the European Union are of constant concern both for policy and economic research. In this paper, we examine whether there are overlapping trends of regional development in the EU: overall convergence, on the one hand, and persistent or even increasing spatial concentration (agglomeration), on the other. Kernel density estimation, Markov chain analysis and cross-sectional regressions provide evidence that convergence of regional per-capita income in the EU15 has become considerably stronger in the 1990s. The reduction of income disparities, however, is a phenomenon between nations but not between regions within the EU countries. European integration (and possibly European regional policy) fosters the catching-up of lagging countries but at the same time forces towards agglomeration of economic activities tend to increase disparities within the EU member states. Copyright (c) 2008 the author(s). Journal compilation (c) 2008 RSAI.

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Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Papers in Regional Science.

Volume (Year): 87 (2008)
Issue (Month): 2 (06)
Pages: 193-217

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Handle: RePEc:bla:presci:v:87:y:2008:i:2:p:193-217
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