The Annals of Regional Science

, Volume 40, Issue 4, pp 723–765 | Cite as

Regional disparities in the European Union and the enlargement process: an exploratory spatial data analysis, 1995–2000

  • Cem ErturEmail author
  • Wilfried Koch
Original Paper


The aim of this paper is to study the space–time dynamics of European regional per capita gross domestic product (GDP) in the perspective of the enlargement of the European Union using exploratory spatial data analysis. We find strong evidence of global and local spatial autocorrelation as well as spatial heterogeneity in the distribution of regional per capita GDP in a sample of 258 European regions including regions from acceding and candidate European countries over the period 1995–2000. However, contrary to previous results obtained in the literature highlighting a North–South polarization scheme, the enlargement process leads to a new North–West–East polarization scheme. The economic dynamism of EU15 regions and acceding or candidate regions is also investigated by exploring the spatial pattern of regional growth. Implications for regional development and cohesion policies are finally suggested.

JEL Classification

O18 O47 O52 R11 R12 



We would like to thank J. Le Gallo and B. Schmitt for their valuable comments. We would also like to thank A. Behrens from the regional statistics section (division E4) as well as J. Recktenwald and I. Dennis for the help they provided on the Eurostat-Regio database. The usual disclaimer applies.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LEG UMR 5118 CNRSUniversité de BourgogneDijonFrance

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