Edited by Mark Setterfield
Mark Roberts and Mark Setterfield 1 Introduction An important stylised fact of capitalist growth and development is large and persistent differences in per capita income growth between regions.1 Theoretical and empirical analysis of the regional growth process has a history stretching back over more than 50 years, with neoclassical approaches dating back to Borts and Stein (1964) and an emphasis on increasing returns at the regional level going back to Kaldor (1970) and even Marshall (1890/1966). However, traditionally, the subject has been rather marginal to the mainstream of economics. This has begun to change in the last 20 years though, with the mid-1980s renaissance of interest in growth theory sparking a related rise of interest in regional and urban growth processes. In this context, Glaeser (2000) identifies the emergence of a new economics of urban and regional growth, which has been especially influenced by the work of Romer (1986, 1990) and the realisation that cities provide the most natural environment in which to look for evidence of the knowledge spillovers so emphasised by endogenous growth theory (Lucas, 1988).2 The “new economics” literature has mainly been a North American literature, having primarily involved North American academics and/or focused on US regional growth. By contrast, rising interest among European researchers in regional growth processes has come from a different angle. In particular, aided by the development of Eurostat’s REGIO database3 and stimulated by deepening European integration, European researchers have been quick to apply advances in spatial econometrics to the analysis of...
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