The Genesis and Evolution of the Blue Banana Region

Author/s Luigi Capoani, Gianluca Bortoletto, Samuele Fratini, Violetta Van Veen, Cristoforo Imbesi
Publishing Year 2022 Issue 2022/2
Language English Pages 41 P. 5-45 File size 1359 KB
DOI 10.3280/SPE2022-002001
DOI is like a bar code for intellectual property: to have more infomation click here

Below, you can see the article first page

If you want to buy this article in PDF format, you can do it, following the instructions to buy download credits

Article preview

FrancoAngeli is member of Publishers International Linking Association, Inc (PILA), a not-for-profit association which run the CrossRef service enabling links to and from online scholarly content.

This article aims to present a balanced bibliographic review on the genesis of the Blue Banana and its further developments. Different contributions have been collected to obtain a comprehensive picture of the European regional concept from both historical and theoretical perspectives. Besides the review of the litera-ture, this article contributes to the existing research on the Blue Banana with a comprehensive investigation of its current features, including urbanization, infra-structures, labor market, productivity, and competitiveness. These aspects raise significant implications at the EU level in terms of promoting policies aimed at the reduction of disparities among the European regions, whose development strate-gies could be further scrutinized, thus benefiting the continent as a whole.

Keywords: Blue Banana; Europe; Spatial development; Productivity.

Jel codes: N10, N14, N94, R11, R12

  1. Abbott M. (2018). Productivity: a history of its measurement, History of Economic Thought and Policy, (1): 57-80. DOI: 10.3280/SPE2018-001003.
  2. Aiginger K. and Davies S.W. (2004). Industrial Specialisation and Geographic Concentration: Two Sides of the Same Coin? Not for the European Union, Journal of Applied Economics, 7(2): 231-248, DOI: 10.1080/15140326.2004.12040610
  3. Alia J. (1989). C’est le grand atout de l’Europe de demain: Le trésor de la banane bleue, Le Nouvel Observateur, 18-24 May, 74-76.
  4. Amable B., R. Barré, and R. Boyer (1997). Les Systèmes d’innovation à l’ère de la Globalisation. Paris: Economica.
  5. Amable B. (2004). The Diversity of Modern Capitalism. Oxford, Oxford University Press.
  6. Annoni P. and K. Kozovska (2010). The EU Regional Competitiveness Index 2010, Regional and Urban Policy. Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities. DOI: 10.2788/88040
  7. Annoni P. and L. Dijkstra (2013). The EU Regional Competitiveness Index 2013, Regional and Urban Policy. Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities. DOI: 10.2788/61698
  8. Annoni P., L. Dijkstra and N. Gargano (2017). The EU Regional Competitiveness Index 2016. European Union Regional Policy Working Papers, no. 02/2017. DOI: 10.2776/94425
  9. Annoni P. and L. Dijkstra (2019). The EU Regional Competitiveness Index 2019, Regional and Urban Policy. Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities. DOI: 10.2776/046835
  10. Ansell C., C. Parsons and K. Darden, (1997). Dual Networks in European Regional Development Policy, Journal of Common Market Studies, 35(3): 347-375.
  11. Asheim B. and E. Clark (2001). Creativity and Cost in Urban and Regional Development in the ‘New Economy’, European Planning Studies, 9(7): 805-811, DOI: 10.1080/09654310120079779.
  12. Baier S., and S. Standaert (2020). Gravity Models and Empirical Trade. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Economics and Finance.
  13. Bell D. (1976). The coming of post-industrial society, The Educational Forum, 40:(4): 574-579. DOI: 10.1080/00131727609336501
  14. Beugelsdijk S., M. J. Klasing and P. Milionis (2018). Regional economic development in Europe: the role of total factor productivity, Regional Studies, 52(4): 461-476. DOI: 10.1080/00343404.2017.1334118
  15. Boschma R. (2004). Competitiveness of regions from an evolutionary perspective, Regional Studies, 38(9): 1001-1014. DOI: 10.1080/0034340042000292601.
  16. Bradford De Long J. and B. Eichengreen (1991). The Marshall Plan: History’s Most Successful Structural Adjustment Program, NBER Working Papers 3899,
  17. Bristow G. (2010). Critical reflections on regional competitiveness: Theory, policy, practice, London, Routledge.
  18. Brunet R. (1973). Structures et dynamiques du territoire français, L’Espace géographique, 4: 249-254.
  19. Brunet R. (1997). Territoires de France et d’Europe. Raisons de géographe, Paris, Belin.
  20. Brunet R., J.-C. Boyer, DATAR and RECLUS (Groupement d’intérêt public; Montpellier) (1989). Les villes “européennes”: Rapport pour la DATAR. Paris, La Documentation française.
  21. Brunet R. (2002). Lignes de force de l’espace Européen, Mappemonde, 66(2): 14-19.
  22. Cellini R. and A. Soci (2002). Pop competitiveness, Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, Quarterly Review, 55 (220): 71-101.
  23. Charron N., V. Lapuente, M. Bauhr (2021). Sub-national Quality of Government in EU Member States: Presenting the 2021 European Quality of Government Index and its relationship with Covid-19 indicators, QoG Working Paper Series 4.
  24. Clark C. (1940). The Conditions of Economic Progress. London, Macmillan.
  25. Cléaud, G. et al. (2019). Cruising at Different Speeds: Similarities and Divergences between the German and the French Economies, European Commission, Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs, Discussion Paper 103.
  26. Crescenzi R. and A. Rodríguez‐Pose (2012). Infrastructure and regional growth in the European Union, Papers in Regional Science, 91: 487-513.
  27. Crescenzi R., M. Di Cataldo and A. Rodríguez‐Pose (2016). Government Quality and The Economic Returns of Transport Infrastructure Investment in European Regions, Journal of Regional Science, 56: 555-582.
  28. Daviet S. (1993). Bassin houiller lorrain: une reconversion en question, L’Information géographique, 57(5): 194-196.
  29. Demeterova B., T. Fischer and J. Schmude (2020). The Right to Not Catch Up – Transitioning European Territorial Cohesion towards Spatial Justice for Sustainability, Sustainability, 12(11): 1-26.
  30. Dijkstra L., P. Annoni, and K. Kozovska (2011). A New Regional Competitiveness Index: Theory, Methods and Findings, Working Papers 02/2011, EU Regional Policy.
  31. Döring T., J. Schnellenbach (2004). What Do We Know About Geographical Knowledge Spillovers and Regional Growth? A Survey of the Literature, Research Notes, 14, Deutsche Bank Research, Frankfurt a. M.
  32. Eichengreen B. (2008). The European Economy Since 1945: Coordinated Capitalism and Beyond. Princeton University Press
  33. European Commission (1999). ESDP, European spatial development perspective: Towards balanced and sustainable development of the territory of the European Union. Luxembourg, Office for Official Publications of the European Communities.
  34. European Commission (2004). A new partnership for cohesion – convergence competitiveness cooperation. Third report on economic and social cohesion. Luxembourg, Office for Official Publications of the European Communities.
  35. European Commission (2005). TRANS-EUROPEAN TRANSPORT NETWORK: TEN-T priority axes and projects 2005. Luxembourg, Office for Official Publications of the European Communities.
  36. European Commission (2008). Cohesion policy 2007-13 national strategic reference frameworks. Luxembourg, Office for Official Publications of the European Communities.
  37. European Commission, Eurostat (2019). Regions in Europe – statistics visualised. Luxembourg, Office for Official Publications of the European Communities.
  38. European Commission (2020a). CEF support to Rhine – Alpine Corridor. Bruxelles: Innovation and Networks Executive Agency.
  39. European Commission (2020b). European Innovation Scoreboard 2020, -- available at
  40. European Commission (2021). 2021-2027 Cohesion Policy: EU Budget Allocations. European Structural and Investment Funds Data, -- available at
  41. Faludi A.K.F. (2015). The Blue Banana Revisited, European Journal of Spatial Development, 1(56): 1-26. -- Available at:
  42. Fisher A.G.B. (1939). Production, primary, secondary and tertiary, Economic Record, 15(1): 24-38.
  43. Forlenza R. and B.S. Turner (2019). Das Abendland: The politics of Europe’s religious borders, Critical Research on Religion, 7(1): 6-23. DOI: 10.1177/2050303218774891
  44. Fourastié J. (1949). Le grand espoir du XXe siècle: Progrès technique, progrès économique, progrès social, Paris, Presses universitaires de France.
  45. Gottman J. (1961). Megalopolis: The Urbanized Northeastern Seaboard of the United States, New York, The Twentieth Century Fund.
  46. Grabher G. (ed.) (1993). The weakness of strong ties: the lock-in of regional development in the Ruhr area, London, Routledge.
  47. Gravier J. F. (1947). Paris and the French desert, Paris, Le Portulan.
  48. Grogin R.C. (2000). Natural Enemies: The United States and the Soviet Union in the Cold War 1917-1991, Lexington Books, Washington DC.
  49. Hall P.A. and D. Soskice (2001). Varieties of Capitalism: The Institutional Foundations of Comparative Advantage, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  50. Heidenreich M. (1998). The Changing System of European Cities and Regions, European Planning Studies, 6(8): 315-332. DOI: 10.1080/09654319808720464
  51. Herz B., van Rens T. (2020). The labor market in the UK, 2000-2019. IZA World of Labor 422,
  52. Hospers G.J. (2003). Beyond the Blue Banana? Structural change in Europe’s geo-economy, Intereconomics, 38(2): 76-85. DOI: 10.1007/BF03031774
  53. Hudson R. (2003). European Integration and New Forms of Uneven Development But Not the End of Territorially Distinctive Capitalisms in Europe, European Urban and Regional Studies, 10(1): 49-67.
  55. Kahn H. and A. J. Wiener (1967). The Year 2000: A Framework for Speculation on the Next Thirty-Three Years, New York, Macmillan.
  56. Klasen S. and T. Nestmann (2006). Population, population density and technological change, Journal of Population Economics, 19: 611-626.
  57. Krugman P. (1994). Competitiveness: a dangerous obsession, Foreign Affairs, 73(2): 28-44. DOI: 10.2307/20045917
  58. Kunzmann K.R. and M. Wegener (1991). The pattern of urbanisation in Western Europe, 1960-1990, Ekistics, 58(350/351): 282-291. -- Available at:
  59. Kunzmann K.R. and M. Wegener (1996). New Spatial Patterns of European Urbanisation, Urban Networks in Europe, 2: 7-17.
  60. Kunzmann K. (2001). La «Banane bleue» est morte ! Vive la «Grappe européenne»!, Espace européen et politique française des transports, 2: 28-41.
  61. Lee J. (2000). The robustness of Okun’s law: Evidence from OECD countries, Journal of Macroeconomics, 22(2): 331-356. DOI: 10.1016/S0164-0704(00)00135-X
  62. Loriaux M.M. (2008). European Union and the deconstruction of the Rhineland frontier, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
  63. Loughlin J. (2007). Centralization and Decentralization in French History. In: Subnational Government. French Politics, Society and Culture Series, London, Palgrave Macmillan.
  64. Lupi M., A. Pratelli, A. Giachetti and A. Farina (2018). Rail freight transport in Italy: An analysis of combined transport connections, Ingegneria Ferroviaria, 73(3): 209-245.
  65. Marino F. and L. Nunziata (2017). The labor market in Italy, 2000-2016, IZA World of Labor, 407.
  66. Mattarocci G. and S. Roberti (2020). Real Estate and the Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic in Europe, Venice, Edizioni Ca’ Foscari.
  67. McDonald F., G. Vertova (2001). Geographical concentration and competitiveness in the European Union, European Business Review, 13(3): 157-165.
  68. Meyer-Stamer J. (2008). Systemic competitiveness and local economic development. Discussion Paper,
  69. Midelfart-Knarvik K.H., H.G. Overman, S. Redding, A.J. Venables, (2000a). The Location of European Industry, report prepared for the Directorate General for Economic and Financial Affairs, European Commission, Economic paper, 142, Brussels.
  70. Midelfart-Knarvik K.H., H.G. Overman, A.J. Venables, (2000b). Comparative advantage and economic geography: estimating the determinants of industrial location in the EU, LSE Research Online, London.
  71. Milward A.S. (1987). The Reconstruction of Western Europe 1945-51. London, Routledge.
  72. Naudé W., A. Surdej and M. Cameron (2019). The Past and Future of Manufacturing in Central and Eastern Europe: Ready for Industry 4.0?, IZA Discussion Paper No. 12141, 1-42. -- Available at SSRN:
  73. Nijkamp P. (1993). Towards a network of regions: The United States of Europe, European Planning Studies, 1(2): 149-168. DOI: 10.1080/09654319308720206
  74. Obadić A., V. Arčabić, & L. Rogić Dumančić (2021). Labor market institutions convergence in the European Union. EFZG working paper series, 2021(02), 1-30.
  75. OECD (2003). “Geographic concentration and territorial disparity in OECD countries” Territorial development policy committee, -- available at
  76. Openshaw S. and P.J. Taylor (1979). A Million or so Correlation Coefficients: Three Experiments on the Modifiable Areal Unit Problem. In Wrigley N., Statistical Applications in the Spatial Sciences. London, Pion.
  77. Pastori E., M. Tagliavia, E. Tosti and S. Zappa (2014). L’indagine sui costi del trasporto internazionale delle merci in Italia: metodi e risultati, Rivista di economia e politica dei trasporti, 3(2): 1-61. -- Available at
  78. Pinelli D., R. Torre, L. Pace, L. Cassio, A. Arpaia (2017). “The Recent Reform of the Labour Market in Italy: A Review,” European Economy – Discussion Papers 2015-072, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
  79. Puga D. (2002). European regional policies in light of recent location theories, Journal of Economic Geography, 2(4): 373-406.,
  80. Ramajo J., M. A. Marquez, G. J. Hewings, & M. M. Salinas (2008). Spatial heterogeneity and interregional spillovers in the European Union: Do cohesion policies encourage convergence across regions?, European Economic Review, 52(3), 551-567.
  81. Riquet P. (1972). Conversion industrielle et réutilisation de l’espace dans la Ruhr, Annales de Géographie, 447(81): 594-621.
  82. Saridakis G., M. A. Mendoza Gonzalez, R. I. Muñoz Torres, & C. Hand (2019). Do Self‐employment Rates Converge? Evidence from European OECD Countries. JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies, 57(3): 551-562.
  83. Schade W., W. Rothengatter and S. Mader (2016). Connectivity and Accessibility of Transport Infrastructure in Central and Eastern European EU Member States, Bruxelles, Directorate-General for Internal Policies of the Union – Policy Department B: Structural and Cohesion Policies/Transport and Tourism.
  84. Schneider H., U. Rinne (2019). The labor market in Germany, 2000-2018. IZA World of Labor, 379,
  85. Schwab K. (ed.)(2012). The Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013, Geneva, Switzerland.
  86. Schwab K. and M.E. Porter (2007). The Global Competitiveness Report 2007-2008, Geneva, Switzerland.
  87. Szymańska A., & E. Zalewska (2018). Towards the goals of the Europe 2020 strategy: Convergence or divergence of the European Union countries?. Comparative Economic Research, 21(1) : 67-82.
  88. Tanguy L. (1999). Reconversion industrielle ou conversion culturelle dans un bassin minier de Lorraine au milieu des années 1960, Sociétés contemporaines, 35(1): 43-70.
  89. Taylor P. and M. Hoyler (2000). The spatial order of European cities under conditions of contemporary globalisation, Tijdschrift voor economische en sociale geografie, 91: 176-189. DOI: 10.1111/1467-9663.00104
  90. Therborn G. (1995). European Modernity and Beyond: the Trajectory of European Societies, New York, SAGE Publications Ltd.
  91. Tóth G., Á. Kincsesand and Z. Nagy (2014). The changing economic spatial structure of Europe, Norwegian Journal of Geography, 68(5): 301-309. DOI: 10.1080/00291951.2014.963665.
  92. Turok I. (2004). Cities, regions and competitiveness, Regional Studies, 38(9): 1069-1083. DOI: 10.1080/0034340042000292647
  93. Van Der Meer L. (1998). Red octopus. In Blaas W. (ed.), A new perspective for European Sspatial Development Policies, London, Routledge.
  94. Villaverde J. and A. Maza (2009). The robustness of Okun’s law in Spain, 1980-2004: Regional evidence, Journal of Policy Modeling, 31(2): 289-297.
  95. Van Wee B., J.A. Annema and D. Banister (eds.) (2013). The transport system and transport policy: an introduction, Cheltenham, Edward Elgar Publishing, Inc.
  96. Whitley R. (1999). Divergent capitalisms: The social structuring and change of business systems. Oxford, Oxford University Press.
  97. Yeandle M. and M. Mainelli (2016). The Global Financial Centres Index 20 The Global Finance Centres Index (GFCI) – Long Finance. -- Available at SSRN:
  98. Young J. T. (1898). Administrative Centralization and Decentralization in France, The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 11(1): 24-43. DOI: 10.1177/000271629801100102
  99. Zimny A. and K. Zawieja-Żurowska (2015). “Blue Banana” or Central and Eastern Europe? The Development of European Logistics Hubs, Journal of Economic and Business Science, Novo Mesto, 1: 97-111. -- Available at

Luigi Capoani, Gianluca Bortoletto, Samuele Fratini, Violetta Van Veen, Cristoforo Imbesi, The Genesis and Evolution of the Blue Banana Region in "HISTORY OF ECONOMIC THOUGHT AND POLICY" 2/2022, pp 5-45, DOI: 10.3280/SPE2022-002001