Large disparities exist among European regions. Not only do they exist across national borders, but also within many states. Countries redistribute a substantial amount of wealth through taxation and social security systems in order to promote equity among individuals. Such inter-personal redistribution has an impact at regional level, even in the absence of explicit regional policy at national level. Economic theory can help explain different levels of economic development as well as convergence and divergence dynamics among economies. Economic theory also suggests that taxes and redistribution of income are generally distorting economic activity. This paper empirically investigates convergence among European regions and the impact of interpersonal transfers on regional growth. Standard beta-convergence regressions are done in a cross section as well as in a panel data setting. Results suggest that convergence is taking place among the 229 European regions in the dataset, since a negative relationship between the initial level of income and the subsequent growth rates exist. Convergence within countries happens much slower, which indicates that the observed convergence is due to a convergence across countries. In order to estimate the impact of transfers, a transfer index allowing for a separate analysis of contributing and receiving regions is computed. Once controlling for regional fixed heterogeneity, no significant effect of transfers on income growth is found, neither on the contributing nor on the benefiting regions.
|Publication status||Published - 2011|