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Economic integration, regional structural change and cohesion in the EU new member-states

  • Dimitris Kallioras

    ()

  • George Petrakos

    ()

  • Georgios Fotopoulos

    ()

The European economic landscape has changed dramatically during the last decade, following the collapse of the bi-polar world. The parallel and interacting processes of economic integration and transition are the driving forces of these changes. In this context, the EU new member-states (including the candidate countries of Bulgaria and Romania) have experienced, often forcefully and painfully, the impact of these processes as a pre-condition for catch-up and integration with the prosperous EU-15 countries. Being still in progress, these processes have altered the intraregional division of labor, affecting the patterns of regional specialization and industrial concentration and increasing the level of interregional competition and inequalities, in a newly emerged internationalized environment. The extent and the impact of these changes, however, are still issues of major scientific dialogue and concern, with many unknown parameters. The need for this first period of transition and economic integration (decade of 90s) to be re-evaluated is evident concerning the mobility of economic activities and possible re-location of industries, the behaviour of the individual regions, the dynamics of regional discrepancies and the stability of the territorial structures. The overall scientific objective of this paper is to identify and explain in a cross-country and comparative analysis the structural industrial patterns in the area of EU new member-states bringing together the findings and reports of the scientific bibliography. Furthermore, a static and dynamic analysis takes place in order to uncover in more depth the possible relation between economic integration, regional structural change and cohesion in these countries. To this direction, a number of research questions are addressed: What is the impact of economic integration to the evolution of regional industrial patterns? Have advanced and lagging-behind regions developed similar or different types of specialization? What is their mix of activities? Over time, do they become more similar or dissimilar? Have metropolitan regions the same mix of activities with peripheral and border regions? Do their economic structures become more similar or dissimilar over time? Are there particular types of structural change more closely related to strong growth performance? The main part of the analysis is conducted on a basis of employment data, as a proxy for industrial structures in NUTS III spatial level, disaggregated by manufacturing branches according to NACE rev.1 two-digit classification. Emphasis is given to the countries of Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia, Hungary and Estonia due to lack of statistical information (regional-structural figures) for the other countries under research. However, despite this shortcoming, the country sample of our analysis can be considered representative of the whole area since it covers all its parts i.e. Southeastern Europe–Balkans (Bulgaria, Romania), Central Europe (Slovenia, Hungary), Eastern Europe–Baltic (Estonia). The research covers the period between 1990 and 1999, a period of extreme significance since it includes both the shocks and the upsets of the early transition (sub-period 1991–1995) and the recent, more independent, trends (1995–1999). The reported findings and conclusions of this research may be a valuable basis for the understanding of the impact of economic integration on regional structure change and cohesion and, as a result, be the basis for the discussion of the appropriate policies of cohesion in the enlarged EU-27.

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Paper provided by European Regional Science Association in its series ERSA conference papers with number ersa05p383.

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Date of creation: Aug 2005
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Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa05p383
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  1. Fertig, Michael, 2003. "The Impact of Economic Integration on Employment – An Assessment in the Context of EU Enlargement," IZA Discussion Papers 919, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. George C. Petrakos, 1996. "The Regional Dimension of Transition in Central and East European Countries: An Assessment," Eastern European Economics, M.E. Sharpe, Inc., vol. 34(5), pages 5-38, October.
  3. George Petrakos & Andres Rodríguez-Pose & Antonis Rovolis, 2003. "Growth, Integration and Regional Inequality in Europe," ERSA conference papers ersa03p46, European Regional Science Association.
  4. Arjan M. Lejour & Ruud A. de Mooij & Richard Nahuis, 2001. "EU Enlargement: Economic Implications for Countries and Industries," CESifo Working Paper Series 585, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Resmini, Laura, 2002. "European integration and adjustment in border regions in accession countries," ERSA conference papers ersa02p193, European Regional Science Association.
  6. Hallet, Martin, 2002. "Income convergence and regional policies in Europe: results and future challenges," ERSA conference papers ersa02p080, European Regional Science Association.
  7. Bode, Eckhardt & Krieger-Boden, Christiane & Siedenburg, Florian & Soltwedel, Rüdiger, 2005. "European integration, regional structural change and cohesion in Spain," Open Access Publications from Kiel Institute for the World Economy 3766, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
  8. Klara Z. Sabirianova, 2000. "The Great Human Capital Reallocation: An Empirical Analysis of Occupational Mobility in Transitional Russia," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 309, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  9. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521088237 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Suhrcke, Marc, 2001. "Preferences for inequality : East vs. West," HWWA Discussion Papers 150, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWA).
  11. Saul Estrin & Alan Bevan & Klaus Meyer, 2001. "Institution Building and the Integration of Eastern Europe in International Production," One Europe or Several? Working Papers 16, One-Europe Programme.
  12. Petrakos, George & Economou, Dimitri, 2002. "The spatial aspects of development in south-eastern Europe," ERSA conference papers ersa02p139, European Regional Science Association.
  13. Deardoff, A.V. & Brown, D.K. & Stern, R.M. & Djankov, S.D., 1995. "An Economic Assessment of the Integration of Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Poland into the Europan Union," Working Papers 380, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  14. Nitsch, Volker, 2002. "Border effects and border regions: Lessons from the German unification," HWWA Discussion Papers 203, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWA).
  15. Dimitris Kallioras & Georgios Fotopoulos & George Petrakos, 2004. "Patterns of Regional Specialization and Sectoral Concentration of Industrial Activity in Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia, Hungary and Estonia," ERSA conference papers ersa04p89, European Regional Science Association.
  16. Thirkell, John & Petkov, Krastyu & Vickerstaff, Sarah, 1998. "The Transformation of Labour Relations: Restructuring and Privatization in Eastern Europe and Russia," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198289791, March.
  17. Richard E. Baldwin & Joseph F. Francois & Richard Portes, 1997. "The costs and benefits of eastern enlargement: the impact on the EU and central Europe," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 12(24), pages 125-176, 04.
  18. Resmini, Laura, 2002. "Specialization and growth patterns in border regions of accession countries," ZEI Working Papers B 17-2002, ZEI - Center for European Integration Studies, University of Bonn.
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