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International vs. Intra-national Convergence in Europe – an Assessment of Causes and Evidence

Author(s): Andreas P. Cornett | Nils Karl Sørensen

Journal: Investigaciones Regionales
ISSN 1695-7253

Issue: 13;
Start page: 35;
Date: 2008;
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Keywords: Convergence and disparities | innovation | entrepreneurship industrial structure | economic growth and employment.

The article aims to explain the different patterns of economic developmentin Europe based on an assessment of regional and national performancewith regard to innovation, entrepreneurship and difference in the industrial structure.The central hypothesis of the paper is that large intra-regional disparities donot necessarily lead to lower economic growth on the national level than smallerdisparities do. On the contrary, the polarization of economic activities can lead toexcess growth in some cases, and contribute to a process of convergence betweennations.To address the mechanisms behind this process, the long run patterns of convergenceand disparities in regional economic performance with regard to GDP and the distributionof employment are analyzed on the regional and the national level for selectedEuropean countries.The paper focuses on the apparent contradiction between increasing intra-nationaldisparities on the regional level in most industrialized countries and the overall tendencytoward convergence on the national level in Europe and tries to providesome tentative explanations based on empirical as well as theoretical considerations.
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