, Volume 40, Issue 4, pp 693-721

Pan-European regional income growth and club-convergence

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Abstract

Club-convergence analysis provides a more realistic and detailed picture about regional income growth than traditional convergence analysis. This paper presents a spatial econometric framework for club-convergence testing that relates the concept of club-convergence to the notion of spatial heterogeneity. The study provides evidence for the club-convergence hypothesis in cross-regional growth dynamics from a pan-European perspective. The conclusions are threefold. First, we reject the standard Barro-style regression model which underlies most empirical work on regional income convergence in favour of a two regime [club] alternative in which different regional economies obey different linear regressions when grouped by means of Getis and Ord’s local clustering technique. Second, the results point to a heterogeneous pattern in the pan-European convergence process. Heterogeneity appears in both the convergence rate and the steady-state level. But, third, the study also reveals that spatial error dependence introduces an important bias in our perception of the club-convergence and shows that neglect of this bias would give rise to misleading conclusions.

The opinions expressed in this paper represent those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official position or policy of the Deutsche Bundesbank.