Behrens, Petra and Smyrl, Marc. (1997) "EU regional policy in theory and practice". In: UNSPECIFIED, Seattle, Washington. (Unpublished)
The reforms of the European Community's regional policies carried out over the course of the 1980s have their theoretical grounding in theories of economic growth based on the work of Gunnar Myrdal. Based on the concept of cumulative causation, these theories predict increasing geographical divergence in economic conditions as barriers to free trade are removed. Through the reform of its structural funds, the European Commission sought to deal with this problem by encouraging micro-economic transformation of lagging regions. A number of problems, theoretical as well as practical, have complicated the implementation of this reform, however, such as: 1) content of regional programs, even after the reform, has not always reflected their theoretical intent; 2) assumptions that the Commission would readily find regional "partners" prepared to collaborate in the spirit of the reformed policy have proven true only in exceptional cases; and 3) the deep-seated contradictions between the basis of regional policy and that of the single market project have not been sufficiently addressed. Fundamental areas of incompatibility may well exist between the two projects, making it possible to pursue both at the same time.
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