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Structural Funds and European Regional Growth: Comparison of Effects among Different Programming Periods


  • Carlos Pinho
  • Celeste Varum
  • Micaela Antunes


Strengthening social, economic and territorial cohesion is a central objective of the European Union (EU) and the Structural Funds reflect the main financial effort of the EU to pursue this goal. So far we have gone through four programming periods; to what extent the EU Funds have become more effective in promoting growth and reducing the disparities between EU Member countries is a matter of concern. We investigate the existence (or not) of learning effects and efficiency improvements following the reforms of Regional Policy. The study is applied to data from EU regions (EU12) in the most recent programming periods where data are available. The results suggest an improvement of the Funds efficiency in growth in 2000-2006 when compared to the previous programming period. Moreover, the returns from investments of Funds tend to be higher in richer, higher-educated and more innovative regions. Finally, the Cohesion group has not been able to transform the large transfers received into additional growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Carlos Pinho & Celeste Varum & Micaela Antunes, 2015. "Structural Funds and European Regional Growth: Comparison of Effects among Different Programming Periods," European Planning Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(7), pages 1302-1326, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:eurpls:v:23:y:2015:i:7:p:1302-1326
    DOI: 10.1080/09654313.2014.928674

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Davide Fiaschi & Andrea Mario Lavezzi & Angela Parenti, 2009. "Productivity Dynamics across European Regions: the Impact of Structural and Cohesion Funds," Discussion Papers 2009/84, Dipartimento di Economia e Management (DEM), University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy.
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    Cited by:

    1. Valentin-Marian Antohi & Monica Laura Zlati & Romeo Victor Ionescu & Mihaela Neculita & Raluca Rusu & Aurelian Constantin, 2020. "Attracting European Funds in the Romanian Economy and Leverage Points for Securing their Sustainable Management: A Critical Auditing Analysis," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(13), pages 1-26, July.
    2. Ugo Fratesi & Fiona G. Wishlade, 2017. "The impact of European Cohesion Policy in different contexts," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 51(6), pages 817-821, June.
    3. Roman, Monica & Gotiu (Lucaciu), Liliana, 2017. "Non-parametric methods applied in the efficiency analysis of European structural funding in Romania," MPRA Paper 80548, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 08 May 2017.
    4. Eirini Aivazidou & Giovanni Cunico & Edoardo Mollona, 2020. "Beyond the EU Structural Funds’ Absorption Rate: How Do Regions Really Perform?," Economies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(3), pages 1-24, July.
    5. Zsolt Darvas & Guntram B. Wolff, 2018. "The EU’s Multiannual Financial Framework and some implications for CESEE countries," Focus on European Economic Integration, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank), issue Q3-18, pages 77-86.
    6. Mindaugas Butkus & Alma Mačiulytė-Šniukienė & Kristina Matuzevičiūtė, 2020. "Mediating Effects of Cohesion Policy and Institutional Quality on Convergence between EU Regions: An Examination Based on a Conditional Beta-Convergence Model with a 3-Way Multiplicative Term," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(7), pages 1-37, April.

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