To What Extent Do Regional Disparities Depend on the Measure and Indicator Employed?: A Reference to the EU.

The reduction of EU regional disparities in development levels is a key

goal in the European Commission’s policy agenda, but there are at least two

debatable points that have captured the attention of academics and policymakers:

how to measure disparities between regions and the practical meaning

of the word development. This paper attempts to contribute to this debate

by shedding some light on these two points. First, as different measures have

been proposed to evaluate the evolution of (regional) disparities, the report

attempts to verify whether all of them roughly convey similar information. Second,

given that different (single and composite) indicators, other than the

traditional per capita GDP, have been proposed to represent the term development,

the paper wants to see whether the conclusions drawn from the use of

these single and composite indicators are generally similar to those from the

per capita GDP. Regarding inequality measures, the results tended to show

that all of them convey more or less the same information, namely, a common

time pattern leading to a significant reduction of regional disparities in EU27

during the period 1995-2007. With respect to the development indicators, the

results tend to support the conclusion that regional variations in development,

whatever indicator is employed, are closely related to variations in per capita


José Villaverde
Adolfo Maza
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