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

Publication Date

02/22/2018

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Abstract

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.