The Big European Sort? The Diverging Fortunes of Europe’s Regions

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Publication Date May 2019
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This paper considers how structural economic changes have led to regional divergence – with profitable companies and highly-skilled people clustering together in successful cities, leaving less successful areas behind. This creates a dilemma for Europe’s policy-makers. Should they attempt to invest in areas in relative decline, to try to stem the outflow of highly-skilled people and address the frustration of people ‘left behind’? Or should they invest more in skills, housing and transport to make it easier for people to move to successful cities? While the latter might lead to the largest productivity gains, it risks hardening Europe’s political fault-lines.

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ECB: Speech, 19.9.05: Regional divergence in the euro area

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