, Volume 39, Issue 2, pp 241-252

Alternative regional specification and convergence of U.S. regional growth rates

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We apply absolute beta convergence techniques to cross sectional per capita income data for alternative specifications of U.S. regions in order to detect whether U.S. regional growth rates are converging over relatively recent time periods. We also explore whether estimates of convergence differ between economic and political region specifications. We show that convergence of growth rates across regions of the U.S. has continued in modern times (1969–1997) for almost any regional specification and for all time frames considered. We do find, however, some difference in convergence rates between economic and political regions. Convergence coefficients, however, are remarkably similar across alternative economic region specifications.

An earlier version of this paper was presented in February 2003 at the 42nd annual meetings of the Western Regional Science Association in Rio Rico, Arizona. We would like to thank our session participants in Rio Rico and three anonymous referees for helpful comments. Any remaining errors or oversights, however, are entirely our responsibility.