New economic geography meets Comecon

Abstract : We analyse the internal spatial wage and employment structures of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia, using regional data for 1996-2000. A new economic geography model predicts wage gradients and specialization patterns that are smoothly related to the regions' relative market access. As an alternative, we formulate a 'Comecon hypothesis', according to which wages and sectoral location are not systematically related to market access except for discrete concentrations in capital regions. Estimations support both the NEG (new economic geography) prediction and the Comecon hypothesis. However, when we compare internal wage and employment gradients of the five new member states with those of Western European countries, we find that the former are marked by significantly stronger discrete concentrations of wages and service employment in their capital regions, confirming the ongoing relevance of the Comecon hypothesis.
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Marius Brülhart, Pamina Koenig. New economic geography meets Comecon. Economics of Transition, Wiley-Blackwell, 2006, 14 (2), pp.245-267. ⟨10.1111/j.1468-0351.2006.00256.x⟩. ⟨halshs-00754159⟩

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