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Urban and regional dynamics in Poland

  • Deichmann, Uwe
  • Henderson, Vernon

In this exploration of urban and regional dynamics in Poland after the transition, the authors find that the degree of urbanization, and primacy remains low in Poland. The largest cities are not growing at the rate that would be expected if post-transition adjustments were operating freely. As a result, Poland is not fully realizing external economies from urban agglomeration. Internal migration decreased significantly in the 1990s, with rural-to-urban migration declining dramatically. Current population levels everywhere seem frozen at a degree of urbanization that is low by international standards. Migration levels do not respond to unemployment differentials, perhaps because Poland's continuing housing shortage, deters migration. Housing construction, which was already low, fell by half in the 1990s, and has only recently begun a slight recovery. A significant number of mostly young, and educated temporary migrants leave Poland annually, many to find employment abroad. This may reduce pressure on the Polish labor market, but also keeps dynamic actors our of the domestic labor force, reducing growth in urban businesses and industry. Employment in manufacturing and agriculture is relatively concentrated, but specialization seems to have declined in recent years, perhaps reflecting barriers to labor mobility - which could limit growth. That employment in the manufacturing sector is quite concentrated, is to be expected in a formerly planned economy. But employment in the service sector, is also quite concentrated. A geographic divergence of service activities is not explained by dominant growth in specialized financial, and business services in the capital alone. Poland's policymakers should find a way to provide housing, thereby reducing barriers to labor mobility, and growth.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 2457.

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Date of creation: 30 Sep 2000
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2457
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  1. J. Vernon Henderson, 2000. "The Effects of Urban Concentration on Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 7503, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Glenn Ellison & Edward L. Glaeser, 1994. "Geographic Concentration in U.S. Manufacturing Industries: A Dartboard Approach," NBER Working Papers 4840, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Olivier Jean Blanchard & Lawrence F. Katz, 1992. "Regional Evolutions," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 23(1), pages 1-76.
  4. Jonathan Eaton & Zvi Eckstein, 1994. "Cities and Growth: Theory and Evidence from france and Japan," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 36, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  5. Mayo, Stephen K. & Stein, James I. & INU, 1988. "Housing and labor market distortions in Poland : linkages and policy implications," Policy Research Working Paper Series 361, The World Bank.
  6. Xavier Gabaix, 1999. "Zipf'S Law For Cities: An Explanation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 739-767, August.
  7. Duncan Black & Vernon Henderson, 2003. "Urban evolution in the USA," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(4), pages 343-372, October.
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