New Horizons in Regional Science series
Edited by Philip Cooke, Mario Davide Parrilli and José Luis Curbelo
Chapter 14: Regional Policy: What (it seems) we have Learned from some European Experiences
* Juan R. Cuadrado-Roura 1. INTRODUCTION Most European countries – from the UK and the Scandinavian countries to Italy and Greece – have a long experience in implementing regional policies. Generally, these policies have been a response to the existence of regional disparities in a wide range of variables (gross domestic product per capita, unemployment and productivity rates, and so on), which have a profound effect on the economic welfare of a nation region’s. Other specific problems have also justified some types of regional policies, such as those aiming to solve problems of industrial decline or to slow down the concentration processes of economic activities in the metropolitan areas. Traditional regional policy, based upon offering subsidies to firms locating their new plant in designed assisted areas, became rather popular in many European states until mid-1970s (Albrechts et al., 1989; Armstrong and Taylor, 1994). Government investments in the infrastructure of the lagging regions have also had an important role in the regional policies applied, and the location of state-owned companies was also employed as a tool to push the development of less developed areas or regions having problems of industrial decline. A different phase in the evolution of regional policies in Europe started at the end of the 1970s when these policies were set at a low priority owing to the fact that the countries were confronted with a deep recession process and budgetary constraints. Nevertheless this practically coincides with the period of rapid expansion of the European Community’s own regional policy. The increasing...
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