Entwicklung regionaler Disparitäten hinsichtlich Wirtschaftskraft, sozialer Lage sowie Daseinsvorsorge und Infrastruktur in Deutschland und seinen ländlichen Räumen

In this study, we investigate the development of regional disparities with regard to economic, social, and infrastructural indicators for Germany. We analyse a total of 13 indicators on the scale of county regions and review particularly the period from 2000 until the most recent year for which data are available. As a result, we neither observe that regions in Germany are generally diverging nor that rural areas are lagging behind the socio-economic development of the whole society. Eleven out of 13 indicators show rather stable or decreasing disparities and we observe increasing disparities in terms of two indicators. Territorial inequalities between rural and nonrural areas do almost not exist over the whole period under study, remained virtually stable or developed in favour of ruralregions with regard to again eleven of the 13 indicators. However, the decreasing disparities could result at least partly from an effect called ‘passive regeneration’. This means that the convergence is not driven by real improvements, but only by a decline of the relation group in the denominator, for instance in the course of outmigration which many rural regions were affected by. At the end of the observation period, rural areas in total outperform non-rural areas concerning three indicators, they lack behind in respect of four indicators, and there is no significant difference (anymore) between both spatial types regarding six indicators. Altogether, the 13 indicators build no consistent pattern in space. Whether existing disparities and their developments from the year 2000 on call for political action, remains first and foremost a normative and no scientific question. Therefore, democratically legitimated decision makers have to answer this question. Our study results may contribute to this discussion by improving the basis for decision-making for the people in power.

Issue Date:
Feb 06 2019
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JEL Codes:
R12; R23
Series Statement:
Thünen Report 66

 Record created 2019-02-06, last modified 2020-10-28

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