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Globalization and spatial inequality: Does economic integration affect regional disparities?

Roberto Ezcurra () and Alba Villar ()
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Roberto Ezcurra: Universidad Pública de Navarra
Alba Villar: Universidad Pública de Navarra

The Annals of Regional Science, 2021, vol. 67, issue 2, No 4, 335-358

Abstract: Abstract This article examines the link between economic globalization and spatial inequality in a panel of 142 countries over the period 1992–2012. Our instrumental variables estimates reveal a strong causal effect of the degree of economic integration with the rest of the world on spatial inequality, indicating that the advances in the process of globalization currently underway contribute to significantly increasing regional income disparities. This means that globalization leads to the emergence of losing and winning regions within countries and that the group of losing (winning) regions tends to be made up of low (high-)-income regions. This result has to do with the regressive spatial impact of actual economic flows, while existing restrictions on trade and capital do not exert a significant effect in this context. Our findings are robust to the inclusion in the analysis of different covariates that may be correlated with both spatial inequality and globalization and are not driven by a specific group of influential countries. Likewise, the observed relationship between economic integration and spatial inequality does not depend on the measures used to quantify the magnitude of regional income disparities within the various countries. At the same time, our estimates suggest that the spatial impact of globalization is contingent on the level of economic development.

JEL-codes: F15 R12 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1007/s00168-021-01050-5

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