Regional problem or regional crisis? : issues in theory and policy with reference to post-war Greece
Efforts to promote regional development have been on the main agenda of
government policy in post-war Europe. During the 1950s and 1960s rapid and
steady growth created an environment favourable to a reduction of regional
inequalities. This is supported by statistical evidence of that period
indicating a mild convergence of intra-country inter-regional per capita GDPs.
During the 1970s, on the other hand, low growth appeared to be associated with
a cessation of "convergence" tendencies - hence the often-heard notion that a
restoration of high national growth rates will lead to a resumption of convergence
tendencies. It is maintained in this work, however, that although relatively
high growth will be a necessary condition for inter-regional convergence, it will
not be a sufficient condition.
The present work analyses various aspects of the post-1960s economy and
identifies the following additional factors as having an important bearing on
current and future prospects for regional development: investment behaviour
("enterprise"vs. "rationalisation" investment), an accelerating capital-deepending
trend, new developments in technology and changes in the output and employment
structure of the secondary and tertiary sectors of the modern economy.
The analysis also had implications for the effectiveness of existing regional
policy instruments, in particualr, incentives, locational controls and public
investment. The latter are re-examined in light of the structural changes
discussed earlier and certain suggestions are made for adapting these policy
instruments to the structural changes that have taken place.
A case study of Greece permits a closer assessment of the scope and limits
of conventional regional policy with the help of various statistical data. The
policies proposed earlier are then discussed in the Greek context.