DP1435 | Regional Integration, Scale Economies and Industry Location in the European Union


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This paper analyses the effects of regional integration on the location of increasing-returns industry and the resulting pattern of trade. Theoretically, it is shown that regional integration may initially lead to a dispersion of industry inside the customs union. Below a certain threshold of internal trade costs, however, industry concentration in the central member country will again increase. This non-monotonic relationship with regional integration also applies to equilibrium levels of intra-industry trade (IIT). A strictly monotonic negative relationship is found between, on one hand, the degree of scale economies and, on the other hand, industrial concentration both in the central country and intra-union IIT. Empirical evidence for the European Union lends support to some of the theoretical predictions. Employment in scale-intensive industries tends to be concentrated at the centre of the EU, and IIT is relatively low in these sectors. An IIT growth reversal is detected for the scale-intensive industries, which supports the non-monotonicity predicted by the model.