Economic integration and regional inequality in Iberia (1900-2000) : a geographical approach
This paper studies the evolution of regional inequality in Iberia from 1900 to 2000 from a geographical perspective. For doing that the text presents a new dataset of historical regional GDPs for Spanish NUTS III and Portuguese Historical Districts (HD), synthetic indices of regional inequality and different measures of spatial correlation across regional pc GDPs. The results show that Portuguese and Spanish national economic integration processes initially favored the economic specialization across Iberian regions fostering the divergence in terms of their regional pc GDPs. Notwithstanding, ulterior advances in the integration of national markets and the subsequent first stages in the process of adhesion of these two national economies into the UE coexisted with a progressive reduction in Iberian regional inequality. So, Iberian regional inequality depicts a long term U-shaped evolution. Nevertheless, at the same time, Iberian regional inequality evolution followed a significant geographical pattern. The poorest regions cluster in inland territories of the south and west, with regions belonging to this cluster sited on the two sides of the political border. On the contrary, richest regions cluster along the coasts, especially in the north-east corner of the Iberian Peninsula. Besides, the data show that this pattern was well established in the middle of the XX century, before the reciprocal openness of national markets in the 1980s. In this respect, the adhesion of both economies to the UE in 1986 seems to have just caused an ulterior deepening in this historical pattern
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