NATIONAL AND REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT POLICY: COMPARING IRELAND AND POLAND
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We describe how, within the European single market, the economies of small nation states and regions of larger states have more in common than is often recognised. We suggest that as a role model in the design of the special development programme for the Eastern Polish regions, the example of Ireland is relevant to Polish regional administrations as they attempt to achieve the best return from capturing gains from EC and national policies as well as building on their own, rather limited, locally devolved powers. Our analysis demonstrates that during the eighteen-year period of three EU-assisted investment programmes, the Irish economic policy-making environment shifted from one appropriate to a state on the periphery of Europe to that of a region more fully integrated into an encompassing European economy. We conclude that the challenge facing regional policy makers is to understand how national policies can have both positive and negative regionally asymmetric impacts, while acknowledging the extremely constrained scope for designing off-setting region-specific policies within the context of the nation state. It is politically difficult to design regional policies that introduce fundamental differences between regions of a nation state other than in terms of the level of income redistribution. But if the Polish regional economies are to be renewed, big innovations are precisely what are needed.
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