Have Regions Converged? Sigma and Beta Convergence in Objective 1 and Other EU Regions between 1988 and 1999

  • Robert Leonardi

Abstract

The definition and significance of cohesion has been hotly debated among political scientists and economists since the concept first made its appearance in the Single European Act (SEA), but it was with the subsequent Treaty on European Union (i.e., the Maastricht Treaty) of 1993 (Article B) that economic and social cohesion became one of the three primary economic objectives along with the Single Market and European Monetary Union (EMU). Many had argued that the full opening of national markets to European-wide competition and the elimination of the ability of member states to manipulate exchange rates to compensate for the decline in national and regional competitiveness would have a significant negative impact on less developed areas,1 and therefore, a significant change in the approach adopted by the European Union to the challenges of regional development in an open European market had to be implemented.

Keywords

Europe Income Nism 

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Notes

  1. 1.
    See S.F. Overturf, The Economic Principles of European Integration, New York, Praeger, 1986.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    For a discussion of these positive factors, see R. Leonardi, Convergence, Cohesion and Integration in the European Union, London: Macmillan, 1996, Chapter 2.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    See W. Molle, B. von Holst, and G. Smith, Regional Disparity and Economic Development in the European Community, Wstmead, Saxon House, 1980. Molle et al. used GDP per capita expressed in US $ to compare levels of economic well-being at three points in time: 1950, 1960 and 1970. Norbet Vanhove also presents a good overview of the different levels in activity rates, employment, unemployment and regional income in his volume, Regional Policy: A European Approach, Aldershot: Ashgate, 1999, pp. 64–122.Google Scholar
  4. A discussion of the problem areas in the European Union is also presented in Ronald Hall, Alasdair Smith and Loukas Tsoukalis (eds), Competitiveness and Cohesion in EU Policies, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.Google Scholar
  5. 7.
    Others have come to conclusions confirming the status quo — i.e., that nothing new has manifested itself in the European regions. See Andres Rodriguez-Pose, Dynamics of Regional Growth in Europe: Social and Political Factors, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998.Google Scholar
  6. 8.
    See a more detailed discussion of the impact of changes in the definition of the units of analysis in Robert Leonardi, Convergence, Cohesion and Integration in the European Union, London: Macmillan, 1995, pp. 75–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 11.
    See Javier Sala-i-Martin, “The classical approach to convergence analysis”, The Economic Journal, 106, 1996, p. 1020.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 12.
    For an introduction of the basic concepts of economic growth, see N.G. Mankiw, Macroeconomics, chaps. 4 and 5, New York: Worth Publishers, 2000.Google Scholar
  9. 13.
    See Javier Sala-i-Martin, “The classical approach to convergence analysis”, The Economic Journal, 106, 1996, p. 1020.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 14.
    For a discussion of the various scenarios that may produce convergence or divergence see Robert Leonardi, Convergence, Cohesion and Integration in the European Union, London, Macmillan, 1996, pp. 65–74;Google Scholar
  11. and Danny Quah “Regional Cohesion from Local Isolated Actions: Conditioning” in European Commission, The socio-economic impact of projects financed by the Cohesion Fund, Lussemburgo, 1999, Vol. 2, 1999 pp. 165–219.Google Scholar
  12. 15.
    See Angel De la Fuente, “The empirics of growth and convergence: a selective review”, Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Vol. 21, Amsterdam, 1997, p. 36.Google Scholar
  13. 16.
    Harvey Armstrong and P. Taylor, Regional Economics and Policy, 3rd Edition, Oxford, Blackwell Publishers, 2000.Google Scholar
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    See Danny Quah, 1996a, “Empirics for economic growth and convergence”, European Economic Review 40, Elsevier, pp. 1356–1357.Google Scholar
  15. 25.
    See Mario Badii, “Elementi di analisi della trasformazione del mercato del lavoro della Toscana nel periodo” 1993–2001, Mimeo, Brussels Office of the Regione Toscana, March 2002.Google Scholar

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© Robert Leonardi 2005

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  • Robert Leonardi

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