Regional specialisation and concentration in the EU
Spatial issues have received renewed interest in economics following the development of the new economic geography. At the same time, there is a general concern that the process of European integration would lead to higher regional specialisation making regions more prone to adverse shocks and increasing adjustment costs in the case of a relocation of firms. However, empirical evidence on spatial patterns of specialisation following the integration of economies is very scarce and inconclusive. Due to problems of data availability, this holds in particular for the regional, sub-national level in Europe. The objective of this paper is to provide some new empirical evidence on these issues on the basis of data for gross value added in 17 sectors and 119 regions between 1980 and 1995. The two main results are that the general process of structural change from manufacturing into services tends to make regions more similar regarding their specialisation and that significant changes in industrial concentration can hardly be identified.
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