Regional inequalities: causes and cures

Frank Corvers*, K. Mayhew

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Significant regional inequalities of income and wealth exist in every Western European country and in North America, but their extent varies from country to country. In both Europe and the US, it is generally thought that they tended to narrow from the early 1900s until about 1980, since when they have widened. This widening has become associated with the rise of populism, while the Covid-19 crisis has thrown regional disadvantage into sharp relief. This article discusses measurement issues, traces developments over time, and explores the social and economic consequences of regional disparities. It describes the evolution of regional policy, and in particular the move to more localized approaches in Europe, analysing their strengths and weaknesses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalOxford Review of Economic Policy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021

JEL classifications

  • r10 - General Regional Economics (includes Regional Data)
  • r11 - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes
  • r12 - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity
  • r23 - "Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics: Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population; Neighborhood Characteristics"
  • r28 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics: Government Policy
  • r58 - Regional Development Planning and Policy


  • regional inequalities
  • labour markets
  • agglomerations
  • regional policies
  • structural shocks
  • economic shocks

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