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The role of open borders and cross-border cooperation in regional growth across Europe

This paper estimates the impacts of opening of borders and intensity of cross-border cooperation (CBC) on regional growth across European border regions. The difference-in difference estimations show that the opening of national borders for free movement of people is associated with a 2.7% increase in regional gross value added (GVA) per capita for the border regions of Europe. Using an extension of this estimation based on European Commission-supported CBC projects data for the 2007–13 period (through the INTERREG programme), the results suggest that the doubling of the number of CBC project partners (per 100,000 population) is correlated with an increase of 2.3% in regional GVA per capita. These results confirm the positive economic benefits of European integration by means of CBC. For future research efforts, these findings also encourage the research community to investigate more deeply the channels through which CBC affects the socioeconomic development of border regions.