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Regional Integration, Scale Economies and Industry Location in the European Union


  • Brülhart, Marius


This paper analyses the effects of regional integration on the location of increasing-returns industry and the resulting pattern of trade. Theoretically, it is shown that regional integration may initially lead to a dispersion of industry inside the customs union. Below a certain threshold of internal trade costs, however, industry concentration in the central member country will again increase. This non-monotonic relationship with regional integration also applies to equilibrium levels of intra-industry trade (IIT). A strictly monotonic negative relationship is found between, on one hand, the degree of scale economies and, on the other hand, industrial concentration both in the central country and intra-union IIT. Empirical evidence for the European Union lends support to some of the theoretical predictions. Employment in scale-intensive industries tends to be concentrated at the centre of the EU, and IIT is relatively low in these sectors. An IIT growth reversal is detected for the scale-intensive industries, which supports the non-monotonicity predicted by the model.

Suggested Citation

  • Brülhart, Marius, 1996. "Regional Integration, Scale Economies and Industry Location in the European Union," CEPR Discussion Papers 1435, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:1435

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    More about this item


    Economic Geography; European Union; Regional Integration; Scale Economies;

    JEL classification:

    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)


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