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Abstract

The paper starts from the critiques to the Barro-style methodology for convergence analysis with the aim of reviewing the econometric approaches for testing spatial effects in convergence process related to both cross sectional and panel data regressions, a framework that is applied to a sample of 80 regions of the EU-15 at NUTS-2 level over the time period from 1980 to 2007. The empirical analysis compares results from approaches and, at the same time, provides empirical evidence from techniques that are now widely recognised in the understanding of regional growth and the influence of space but never or rarely applied to the agricultural context. Results point out the complexity of the process of agricultural regional convergence in Europe that cannot be adequately captured by the non-spatial growth regression models that have dominated the research and policy debate in this field. Evidence for convergence and spatial dependence emerges especially when estimations refers to spatial panel models while the effects of spatial heterogeneity and the existence of convergence clubs come out from the geographically weighted regression approach. The paper represents a point of departure for further researches in this field whose most important directions are underlined.

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