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Catching-up, Regional Disparities and EU Cohesion Policy: The Case of Hungary


  • Jorg Lackenbauer

    (Otto-Friedrich University of Bamberg, Germany)


Central and Eastern European countries (CEECs) such as Hungary are not only relatively backward with respect to the ‘old’ EU Member States (EU-15), but they are also witnessing a worrying rise of regional inequalities within their boundaries. With the example of Hungary, we try to identify the factors behind catching-up with the EU-15 in some regions (‘winner regions’) and falling-behind in others (‘loser regions’). By its very definition, EU cohesion policy has to consider both problems (national catching-up vs. the containment of regional disparities) very carefully in the enlarged EU. This is a complex issue, as regional policies often seem to face an equity-efficiency trade-off, as will bw shortly shown. On the basis of this analysis, we discuss how EU cohesion policy could contribute to attain higher national growth and, at the same time, contribute to the decrease in regional disparities. We use a theoretical approach that combines an endogenous growth framework with a new economic geography. The model we use shows that – in contrast to the traditionally used transport infrastructure policies – a policy that reduces the cost of innovation or increases the diffusion of innovation is able to reduce regional income inequality and agglomeration, and increase the national growth rate. The regional policies involved could be primary subsidies for research and technological development, investment in human capital or ICT infrastructure. In the final two sections of the paper, we discuss whether these regional policy prescriptions would fall on fertile soil in the light of Hungary's economic reality, and which could be promising EU cohesion policy schemes that would incorporate an innovation-oriented regional policy approach.

Suggested Citation

  • Jorg Lackenbauer, 2004. "Catching-up, Regional Disparities and EU Cohesion Policy: The Case of Hungary," Managing Global Transitions, University of Primorska, Faculty of Management Koper, vol. 2(2), pages 123-162.
  • Handle: RePEc:mgt:youmgt:v:2:y:2004:i:2:p:123-162

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    Cited by:

    1. Ion POPA & Cezar-Petre SIMION & Catalina Florentina ALBU, 2020. "Gap Analysis Of The Resources And Results Of The National Research-Development System From The Perspective Of Technology Transfer Processes," Proceedings of the INTERNATIONAL MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE, Faculty of Management, Academy of Economic Studies, Bucharest, Romania, vol. 14(1), pages 436-444, November.
    2. Sandu, Steliana & Paun, Cristian, 2010. "Assessing The Possibilities Of Filling The Gap Between Romania And The Eu In The Rdi Field," Working Papers of National Institute for Economic Research 100204, Institutul National de Cercetari Economice (INCE).
    3. Mario A. Maggioni & Mario Nosvelli & T. Erika Uberti, 2006. "Space Vs. Networks in the Geography of Innovation: A European Analysis," Working Papers 2006.153, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    4. Bálint L. TÓTH, 2019. "The Visegrád Group and the railway development interest articulation in Central Eastern Europe," Eastern Journal of European Studies, Centre for European Studies, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, vol. 10, pages 175-195, December.
    5. Maria Cristina OBRETIN, 2018. "The Applicability Of The Unifactorial Model For Brd Shares Quoted On The Bucharest Stock Exchange," Scientific Bulletin - Economic Sciences, University of Pitesti, vol. 17(3), pages 143-152.
    6. David L. Ellison, 2006. "Market correlatives, market palliatives and the new politics of European industrial and regional development," IWE Working Papers 173, Institute for World Economics - Centre for Economic and Regional Studies- Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

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    JEL classification:

    • E69 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Other


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