Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Abstract

At the beginning of the project several objectives and questions regarding economic convergence in the EU were put forward. These referred mainly to the assessment of the relative importance of technological accumulation in the catching up of the "Less-Favoured Regions", to the eventual existence and degree of maturation of"innovation system" in those LFRs, and also to the most adequate strategies to be adopted by the relevant actors to stir up convergence. As a consequence of these initial concerns, the methodological stance was simultaneously analytic and normative.
The theoretical background of the project came mainly from the economics of convergence approaches, even though inputs were also received from the innovation systems literature, economic geography and the sociology of science. A remarkable aspect in the convergence literature is that a significant disagreement exists in what regards the prospects for economic convergence. The views range from the most optimistic, represented by conventional neoclassical models, to the most pessimistic outlook provided by Kaldorian perspectives. However, through the years a general agreement has developed around the idea of "conditional convergence", i.e., that closing the gap is possible if certain prerequisites are met. This is in accordance with historical facts: even though in global terms successful catching up has been more an exception than the rule, several countries have succeeded in approaching or eventually overtaking the income levels of the most advanced economies.

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Record Number: 6879 / Last updated on: 2005-06-13