Cohesion Policy in the European Union: Growth, Geography, Institutions

23 Pages Posted: 28 Jul 2011

See all articles by Thomas Farole

Thomas Farole

World Bank

Andres Rodriguez-Pose

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)

Michael Storper

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Urban Planning

Date Written: September 2011

Abstract

Since the reform of the Structural Funds in 1989, the EU has made the principle of cohesion one of its key policies. Much of the language of European cohesion policy eschews the idea of trade‐offs between efficiency and equity, suggesting it is possible to maximize overall growth while also achieving continuous convergence in outcomes and productivity across Europe's regions. Yet, given the rise in inter‐regional disparities, it is unclear that cohesion policy has altered the pathway of development from what would have occurred in the absence of intervention. This article draws on geographical economics, institutionalist social science and endogenous growth theory, with the aim of providing a fresh look at cohesion policy. By highlighting a complex set of potential trade‐offs and interrelations – overall growth and efficiency; inter‐territorial equity; territorial democracy and governance capacities; and social equity within places – it revisits the rationale of cohesion policy, with particular attention to the geographical dynamics of economic development.

Suggested Citation

Farole, Thomas and Rodriguez-Pose, Andres and Storper, Michael, Cohesion Policy in the European Union: Growth, Geography, Institutions (September 2011). JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies, Vol. 49, Issue 5, pp. 1089-1111, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1897958 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-5965.2010.02161.x

Thomas Farole

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Andres Rodriguez-Pose

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE)

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

Michael Storper

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Urban Planning ( email )

Box 951656
Los Angeles, CA 90095
United States

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