Regional Disparities and Efficient Transport Policies in Economics without Borders
This chapter addresses the economics of regional disparities and transport policies in the European Union, offering an explanation for the uneven development of regions. We show that recent developments in spatial economics highlight the fact that trade is costly and location still matters. Since the drop in transport costs and the emergence of a knowledge-based economy, the proximity to natural resources has been replaced by new drivers of regional growth that rely on human capital and cognitive skills. Regions with a high market potential – those where demand is high and transport costs low – are likely to attract more firms and pay higher wages, which leads to sizable and lasting regional disparities. As a consequence, investments in interregional transport policies may not deliver their expected effects. In addition, new information and communication devices foster the fragmentation of the supply chain and the decentralization of activities.