Regional Specialisation and Sectoral Concentration in an Enlarged EU: A comprehensive updated overview

Economic theories, be it (new) trade, (new) growth or (new) economic geography are far from being able to describe and explain regional concentration of sectors or sectoral specialisation of regions. Consequently, empirical work should shed more light on these developments in incumbent EU member states and Central and Easter Europe. Our analysis aims at providing a comprehensive overview over concentration and specialisation developments in the EU including both the enlargement process and the first impacts of the economic crisis. Data include all EU member states, various sectoral breakdowns for all sectors, different indicators for economic activity, various levels of regional disaggregation and spanning from 1995 to 2010. Measures used include relative and absolute indicators for concentration and specialisation. Findings confirm that on an aggregated level specialisation and concentration are changing only gradually. While this holds true for the impact of EU enlargement, it even holds true for the impact of the economic crisis up to 2010. A more detailed analysis, however, reveals interesting results. While relative employment specialization decreases in EU Member States, relative production specialization (based on GVA) increases marginally over the observed time period. Sector developments are diverse and depend on the used economic variable, the regional level and the sectoral disaggregion. An overall concentration or deconcentration trend cannot be observed. Findings also confirm that it is crucial to perform a comprehensive analysis. Results based only on one indicator or on one dataset with one economic variable, one sectoral and regional disag-gregation might obstruct important developments.

Author: Ulrike; Michael H., Stierle-von Schütz; Stierle
Volume: 2013.02
Publisher: INFER
Year: 2013
No. of pages: 41
Working papers