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The Development of Cities and Municipalities in Central and Eastern Europe: Introduction for a Special Issue of 'Urban Research and Practice'
Urban Research & Practice, Vol. 7 (3),
Since the 1990s, local governments in Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries have been confronted by completely new structures and developments. This came after more than 40 years (or even longer in the case of the former Soviet Union) under a socialist regime and behind an iron curtain which isolated them from the non-socialist world. A lack of resources had led to an underinvestment in the refurbishment of older buildings, while relatively cheap ‘prefabricated’ housing had been built, not only in the outskirts of cities, but also within city centres. A lack of resources had also resulted in the fact that the socialist regimes were generally unable to replace old buildings with ‘modern’ ones; hence, there is a very rich heritage of historical monuments in many of these cities today. The centrally planned economies and the development of urban structures (including the shifts of population between cities and regions) were determined by ideology, political rationality and the integration of all CEE countries into the production schemes of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance and its division of labour by location. The sudden introduction of a market economy, private property, democratic rules, local autonomy for cities and municipalities and access to the global economy and society may be seen as a kind of ‘natural experiment’. How would these new conditions shape the national systems of cities and municipalities? Which cities would shrink and which would grow? How would the relationship between core cities and their surrounding municipalities develop? And what would happen within these cities and with their built environment?
The Impact of Local Factors on the Scope of Benefits from Public Investment: The Case of Tourism Infrastructure in Saxon Municipalities
Urban Research & Practice,
Following the transition from socialist central planning economies to market economies in all of the former socialist countries, many regions have had to cope with severe structural changes and economic development problems. To overcome these problems, local governments have tried to invest in new public infrastructure to support the development of new industries. This paper looks at infrastructure that supports tourist activities and argues that the impact of infrastructure generally depends on certain local factors which differ between municipalities. One important factor is whether the local population possesses the relevant complementary factors, in particular the right ‘soft skills’.
Related Variety, Unrelated Variety and Regional Functions: A spatial panel approach
Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography,
The paper presents estimates for the impact of related variety, unrelated variety and the functions a region performs in the production process on regional employment growth in Germany. We argue that regions benefit from the existence of related activities that facilitate economic development. Thereby the sole reliance of the related and unrelated variety concept on standard industrial classifications (SIC) remains debatable. We offer estimations for establishing that conceptual progress can be made when the focus of analysis goes beyond solely considering industries. We develop an industry-function based approach of related and unrelated variety and test our hypothesis by the help of spatial panel approach. Our findings suggest that related variety as same as unrelated variety facilitate regional employment growth in Germany. However, the drivers behind these effects do differ. While the positive effect of related variety is driven by high degrees of relatedness in the regional “R&D” and “White-Collar”-functions, the effects of unrelated variety are spurred by “Blue Collar”-functions in this period.
Worker Remittances and Capital Flows to Developing Countries
Worker remittances constitute an increasingly important channel for the
transfer of resources to developing countries. Behind foreign direct investment,
remittances are the second-largest source of external funding for developing countries. Yet, literature on worker remittances has traditionally focused on the impact of remittances on income distribution within countries, on the determinants of remittances at a micro-level, or on the effects of migration and remittances for specific countries or regions. Macroeconomic determinants and effects of remittances have received more attention only recently. Hence, the focus of this paper is on the macroeconomic determinants of remittances and on differences in these determinants between remittances and other capital flows. We find that
remittances respond more to demographic variables while private capital
flows respond more to macroeconomic conditions.
Industry Concentration and Regional Innovative Performance – Empirical Evidence for Eastern Germany
Regarding technological innovativeness, the transformed economy of the former German Democratic Republic (GDR) clearly lags behind the western part of the country. To face this weakness a broad mixture of policy measures was carried out in recent years. Particular attention is drawn to the development of industry concentrations and economic ‘clusters’. However, little is known about the effectiveness of these policy measures regarding how industry concentrations in fact promote innovative performance in Eastern Germany. The present study tries to fill this gap by analysing the relationship between industry concentration in Eastern Germany and regional innovative performance. Our empirical analysis is based upon the number of patent applications of 22 manufacturing industries in 22 Eastern German planning regions. The estimated regression models indicate an inverted-U relationship between the degree of industry concentration and innovative performance. An exceedingly high degree of industry concentration in one region hampers regional innovative output. We discuss policy implications of our findings and give recommendations for future refinement of ‘cluster’-supporting policy schemes in Eastern Germany.