The literature on borders as barriers to economic growth presents some weaknesses in conceptualizing and measuring border effects due to obstacles of different nature (e.g., physical, institutional, and social/cultural). This article aims at overcoming this limitation by demonstrating that political borders actually comprise several lines of fracture in the continuity of socioeconomic space. As such, border effects must be decomposed into their building blocks in order to more clearly identify the sources of border-related inefficiencies and enact appropriate policies. By applying an original methodology, the article analyzes the extent to which different types of barriers create obstacles to different growth assets. Results applied to European cross-border regions on a newly collected database at NUTS3 level suggest that (1) physical obstacles hamper several types of economic interactions; (2) sociocultural barriers limit the exploitation of intangible assets; and (3) social and cultural barriers limit the access to intermediate goods and to geographically close labor markets. Evidencebased policy implications call for the identification of the sources of these discontinuities, of the real cost that they engender, and of the type of growth assets hampered in their exploitation by the presence of a border.

Breaking Down the Border: Physical, Institutional and Cultural Obstacles

Capello, Roberta;Caragliu, Andrea;Fratesi, Ugo
2018

Abstract

The literature on borders as barriers to economic growth presents some weaknesses in conceptualizing and measuring border effects due to obstacles of different nature (e.g., physical, institutional, and social/cultural). This article aims at overcoming this limitation by demonstrating that political borders actually comprise several lines of fracture in the continuity of socioeconomic space. As such, border effects must be decomposed into their building blocks in order to more clearly identify the sources of border-related inefficiencies and enact appropriate policies. By applying an original methodology, the article analyzes the extent to which different types of barriers create obstacles to different growth assets. Results applied to European cross-border regions on a newly collected database at NUTS3 level suggest that (1) physical obstacles hamper several types of economic interactions; (2) sociocultural barriers limit the exploitation of intangible assets; and (3) social and cultural barriers limit the access to intermediate goods and to geographically close labor markets. Evidencebased policy implications call for the identification of the sources of these discontinuities, of the real cost that they engender, and of the type of growth assets hampered in their exploitation by the presence of a border.
Regional growth
cross-border regions
border obstacles
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11311/1054511
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