Growth and Regional Development in an Enlarged European Union
Edited by Gertrude Tumpel-Gugerell and Peter Mooslechner
Chapter 3: The impact of European integration on growth: what can we learn for EU accession?
3. The impact of European integration on growth: what can we learn for EU accession? Jesús Crespo-Cuaresma, Maria Antoinette Dimitz and Doris Ritzberger-Grünwald1 3.1. INTRODUCTION For the last 50 years there has been widespread discussion about the economic consequences of European integration. The basic questions are: Is economic integration growth enhancing? Are the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer, or will the income levels of the EC/EU member countries converge as a consequence of integration? Furthermore, which countries will proﬁt most from intensiﬁed trade among the members? The theoretical literature on economic growth has gone through several phases, and the answers to the above questions depend on the speciﬁcation of the respective growth model. From the late 1950s to the mid-1980s the simple Solow–Swan ‘exogenous growth model’ dominated the literature (Solow 1956). According to the neoclassical theory, the economy converges towards a steady state due to diminishing returns to investment in physical capital. Assuming a constant population, the long-run growth rate is solely determined by the rate of technological change, which is assumed to be exogenous. As the growth rate is therefore independent of any economic behaviour, economic policy changes will only have a temporary eﬀect on economic activity. The same is true for economic integration. Technological change is considered a public good common to all countries, so that they all share the same long-run growth rate determined by technological progress alone. Therefore the integrated economy will expand along this unchanged...
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