The Annals of Regional Science

, Volume 45, Issue 1, pp 109–132 | Cite as

The spatial hierarchy of technological change and economic development in Europe

  • Bart Verspagen
Open Access
Special Issue Paper


This paper discusses the possibility of a spatial hierarchy of innovation and growth dynamics in Europe. A spatial hierarchy is understood as a geographical clustering of regions, where important differences exist in terms of innovation and growth dynamics between the clusters. The literature on regional growth and innovation is briefly scanned. After this, a database on European regional growth and innovation dynamics is presented. Spatial correlation analysis and spatial principal components analysis are used to explore the possibility of a spatial hierarchy in Europe. The results point to a hierarchy consisting of four groups: South Europe, East Europe, and two groups in West and North Europe. Growth and innovation performance in these clusters are discussed, and some policy conclusions are drawn.

JEL Classification

O33 R3 



This research is part of the DIME Network sponsored under the EU 6th Framework Programme. This paper was presented at the Kiel workshop on Agglomeration and Growth In Knowledge-based Societies, 20–21 April 2007, at a seminar at IKE, University of Aalborg, DK, at the Globelics Academy, Lisbon, PT, 2–12 May 2007, at the EMAEE Conference, 17–19 May 2007 at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK, and at the Uddevalla Symposium 2007. I thank participants at these meetings, as well as two anonymous referees, for comments and suggestions.

Open Access

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsMaastricht University and UNU-MeritMaastrichtThe Netherlands

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