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EU Structural Funds and Regional Income Convergence - A Sobering Experience

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  • Breidenbach, Philipp
  • Mitze, Timo
  • Schmidt, Christoph M

Abstract

The European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) are the prime instrument of EU regional policy. European policy makers place considerable hope into their growth stimulating funding measures to overcome current economic stagnation. Consequently, there is a strong need for credible evidence regarding the programs' effectiveness. Based on an empirical identification strategy linked to modern growth theory, we find that the disbursement of EU structural funds is negatively correlated with regional growth. Incorporating spatial dynamics and decomposing this correlation into a direct and a spatially-indirect component, it is particularly the latter which determines this "sobering" finding. Regarding the economics behind these results, the obtained negative spatial effect may reflect the role played by policy-induced spatial competition among neighboring regions. It could also highlight the backwardness in technological endowment and economic structures of highly funded regions. In any case, EU structural funding does not seem to contribute effectively to foster income convergence across regions.

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  • Breidenbach, Philipp & Mitze, Timo & Schmidt, Christoph M, 2016. "EU Structural Funds and Regional Income Convergence - A Sobering Experience," CEPR Discussion Papers 11210, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:11210
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    3. Artiom Volkov & Tomas Balezentis & Mangirdas Morkunas & Dalia Streimikiene, 2019. "In a Search for Equity: Do Direct Payments under the Common Agricultural Policy Induce Convergence in the European Union?," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(12), pages 1-15, June.
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    5. Thushyanthan Baskaran & Lars P. Feld & Sarah Necker, 2017. "Depressing dependence? Transfers and economic growth in the German states, 1975–2005," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 51(12), pages 1815-1825, December.
    6. Vehkasalo, Ville, 2018. "Effectiveness of EU Regional Policy: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Finland," REGION, European Regional Science Association, vol. 5, pages 1-19.
    7. Montmartin, Benjamin & Herrera, Marcos & Massard, Nadine, 2018. "The impact of the French policy mix on business R&D: How geography matters," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 47(10), pages 2010-2027.
    8. Bachtrögler, Julia, 2016. "On the effectiveness of EU structural funds during the Great Recession: Estimates from a heterogeneous local average treatment effects framework," Department of Economics Working Paper Series 230, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business.
    9. Heiko T. Burret & Lars P. Feld & Christoph A. Schaltegger, 2018. "Fiscal Federalism and Economic Performance - New Evidence from Switzerland," CESifo Working Paper Series 7250, CESifo.
    10. Sabine D'Costa & Enrique Garcilazo & Joaquim Oliveira Martins, 2016. "Impact of Structural Reforms on Regional Growth: Distance to the Frontier Matters," SERC Discussion Papers 0203, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
    11. Lukasz Pietak, 2021. "Structural Funds and Convergence in Poland," Hacienda Pública Española / Review of Public Economics, IEF, vol. 236(1), pages 3-37, March.
    12. Krieger-Boden, Christiane, 2016. "EU cohesion policy, past and present: Sustaining a prospering and fair European Union?," Kiel Working Papers 2037, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    13. Sabine D’Costa & Jose Enrique Garcilazo & Joaquim Oliveira Martins, 2019. "Impact of macro‐structural reforms on the productivity growth of regions: Distance to the frontier matters," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 98(1), pages 133-166, February.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    EU Regional Policy; Spatial Spillovers; Panel Data;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)
    • R58 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - Regional Development Planning and Policy

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