Regional developmental capacities in the European peripheries

Regional developmental capacities in the European peripheries

Managing foreign investments and EU funds in Eastern and Southern Europe (MTA Premium postdoctoral research grant, no. PPD-028/2017)

By examining the NUTS 2 regions of three Eastern (Hungary, Poland, Romania) and two Southern European (Portugal, Spain) EU member states, this research project asks whether regional developmental capacity is associated with EU funds spent on high value-added R&D and training projects and the amount and quality of foreign investments. Foreign investments into these peripheral EU regions have recently dried up and the competitiveness of these regions based on cheap labour has also declined. This justifies focusing on their ability to attract quality investments and their spending on R&D and training projects which may enhance economic growth in the long run. The simultaneous analysis of how regional developmental agency affects foreign investments and the spending of EU funds is therefore a timely investigation that also bears a novel theoretical and empirical edge. The research covers the 2007-2017 period and compares the developmental performance of the peripheral EU regions by testing whether the quality of regional institutions defined as regional developmental capacities are associated with the size and quality of foreign investments and the quality of EU-funded projects. The project will also generate a unique regional database that includes every foreign investment and EU-funded projects. Finally, the research is the first one to take a comprehensive East-South perspective in analyzing regional developmental trajectories and in this respect its results may inform development policy makers.

Principal investigator: Gergő Medve-Bálint


Medve-Bálint, Gergő. 2018. ‘The Cohesion Policy on the EU’s Eastern and Southern Periphery: Misallocated Funds?’ Studies in Comparative International Development 53(2):1–21.

Medve-Bálint, Gergő and Vera Šćepanović. 2019. ‘EU Funds, State Capacity and the Development of Transnational Industrial Policies in Europe’s Eastern Periphery’. Review of International Political Economy, online first. doi: 10.1080/09692290.2019.1646669