Hans-Friedrich-Eckey and Matthias Türck

Convergence of EU-Regions. A Literature Report

The main focus of convergence studies surrounds the question of whether poor economies catch up to wealthier economies over time. The regional convergence process in Europe has generated considerable interest in recent years. Due to financial straits regional convergence is a central question, since important funds aim at diminishing disparities. There are many studies published recently dealing with this issue using different empirical approaches. The β-convergence framework, which was introduced by Barro and Sala-i-Martin, is, for instance, an often used approach. This paper provides a critical review of the used approaches and summarises the results. A special problem is that authors refer to different periods and Member State groups (EU-9, EU-15, etc.). Altogether it can be stated that most models find a slow convergence process. In particular, the increase of regional inequalities caused by the enlargement of the EU with the New Member States from Central and Eastern Europe explains the existence of convergence clubs.

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