Table of Contents

Handbook on Cohesion Policy in the EU

Handbook on Cohesion Policy in the EU

Edited by Simona Piattoni and Laura Polverari

This Handbook covers all major aspects of EU Cohesion policy, one of the most significant areas of intervention of the European Union. Over five parts, It discusses this policy’s history and governing principles; the theoretical approaches from which it can be assessed; the inter-institutional and multi-level dynamics that it tends to elicit; its practical implementation and impact on EU member states; its interactions with other EU policies and strategies; and the cognitive maps and narratives with which it can be associated. An absolute must for all students of the EU.

Chapter 3: The economic theory of Cohesion policy

Iain Begg

Subjects: politics and public policy, european politics and policy, public policy, urban and regional studies, regional studies


This chapter explores the economic theories and approach that justify Cohesion policy. It finds that the economic rationale has many dimensions, ranging from the treaty obligation to promote regional convergence, to more diffuse macroeconomic aims. The economic approach has also fluctuated over the years, with the latest emphasis being on boosting the collective investment effort of the European Union. This plethora of economic justifications for Cohesion policy makes it harder to assess its effectiveness.

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