Path Dependence in Regional Structural Change: Implications for the EU Cohesion and Innovation Policy
24 Pages Posted: 16 Jul 2020
Date Written: June 20, 2020
The key purpose of this paper is to measure the similarity of regional economic fabrics based on their structure. We propose a new mapping of European regions based on structural proximity; the representation takes the shape of a network, which is also useful to define clusters of regions according to the similarity of their economic structures and, hence, in the endowment of productive competences. We show that there is a high persistence in the relative positioning of regions according to their economic structure and that this is markedly associated with patterns of economic growth and convergence. The spectrum of regional performance range from virtuous urban agglomerates characterized by the presence of advanced services, with enhanced institutional quality, endowed with efficient transport infrastructures and highly educated and productive workforce, to regions characterised by scarce service or industrial activity, sometimes with a cumbersome role of tourism-related business, with poor institutions and transport infrastructure and low endowments of human capital and productive workforce. To richer pools of productive competences are associated faster paces of economic growth. The findings of this paper suggest that place-based policies should be implemented to support territorial development in the short/medium term, but these policies can be effective for the long run growth only when they are meant to leverage on the regional pool of competences to trace trajectories of structural change.
Keywords: Resilience, economic complexity, regional disparities
JEL Classification: O10, O25, P25, R10, L16
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