Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Core-Periphery Model

Klimczuk, Andrzej and Klimczuk-Kochańska, Magdalena (2019): Core-Periphery Model. Published in:


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Core-periphery imbalances and regional disparities figure prominently on the agenda of several disciplines, which result from their enormous impact on economic and social development around the world. In sociology, international relations, and economics, this concept is crucial in explanations of economic exchange. There are few countries that play a dominant role in world trade (sometimes described as the "Global North"), while most countries have a secondary or even a tertiary position in world trade (the "Global South"). Moreover, when we are discussing global, continental, regional, and national economies, we can present regions and even smaller territorial units (such as sub regions, provinces, districts, or counties) which have higher wages than some underdeveloped areas within the same larger area in focus.

Such regional inequalities and injustices are the main themes of the core-periphery model, which focuses on tendencies of economic activities to concentrate around some pivotal points. It seeks to explain the spatial inequalities or imbalances observable on all levels or scales by highlighting the role of horizontal and vertical relations between various entities from the level of towns and cities to the global scale. The existence of a core-periphery structure implies that in the spatial dimension (space and place), the socioeconomic development is usually uneven. From such a geographical perspective, the regions known as the "core" are advanced in various areas, while other regions described as the "periphery" serve as a social, economic, and political back-stages, backyards, and supply sources or - in some cases - are even subject to degradation and decline. Furthermore, the level of development has a negative correlation with distance from the core. The economies of the states that have gone through various stages of development at the earliest and with the fastest pace have become wealthy core regions and growth poles. Those countries and regions where these processes have been slower become or remain the poor periphery.

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