DP12749 Regional Economic Development in Europe, 1900-2010: a description of the Patterns

Author(s): Joan R. Ros├ęs, Nikolaus Wolf
Publication Date: February 2018
Keyword(s): Europe, Long-Run, Regional Inequality
JEL(s): D31, N1, N9, R1
Programme Areas: International Trade and Regional Economics, Economic History, Macroeconomics and Growth
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=12749

We provide the first long-run dataset of regional employment structures and regional GDP and GDP per capita in 1990 international dollars, stretching over more than 100 years. These data allow us to compare regions over time, among each other, and to other parts of the world. After some brief notes on methodology we describe the basic patterns in the data in terms of some key dimensions: variation in the density of population and economic activity, the spread of industry and services and the declining role of agriculture, and changes in the levels of GDP and GDP per capita. We next discuss patterns of convergence and divergence over time and their explanations in terms of short-run adjustment and long-run fundamentals. Also, we document for the first time a secular decrease in spatial coherence from 1900 to 2010. We find a U-shaped development in geographic concentration and regional income inequality, similar to the finding of a U-shaped pattern of personal income inequality.