Ruhr Economic Papers

Ruhr Economic Papers #384

Urban Economic Growth in Europe Between 2001 and 2008 – Gravitation or Dispersion?

by Uwe Neumann, Rüdiger Budde and Christoph Ehlert

RWI, 11/2012, 24 S./p., 8 Euro, ISBN 978-3-86788-439-6 DOI: 10.4419/86788439



This paper examines what regional characteristics drove urban economic growth in Europe during the past decade. Possible impacts on the new member states in Central Europe due to expansion of the European Union are accounted for by comparison between two periods, before and after 2004. With a focus on cities, a more precise view of Europe-wide regional disparities and their development can be provided than by research based on larger territories, which prevails in the empirical literature on regional convergence. After 2004, economic growth accelerated considerably in the least developed peripheral regions and in the wealthier capital cities of Central European countries. In the medium term, however, no equalisation of disparities within Europe can be exptected. The analysis suggests that economic prosperity in Central Europe and in other parts of Europe depends on the performance of urban “growth poles” favouring regional innovation. This implies that it is a task of regional policy to support provision of a high-quality infrastructure for education and innovation in cities and to encourage utilisation of these facilities within wider regions.

JEL-Classification: R11, R12, C21, C23

Keywords: Spatial economics; urban economics; EU enlargement