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Territorial Cohesion in Polish Regional Development Policy. The results of Surveys and in depth inquiries covering regional authorities in Poland

Profesor Jacek Zaucha, Tomasz Komornicki

The paper is an extended version of the Working Paper no. 003/2014 (014) (Zaucha Komornicki 2014) and the Working Paper no. 002/2015/(021) (Zaucha Komornicki 2015). It aims at foreign readers. The paper presents to what extent and how the Polish regions (voivodship) have managed to introduce territorial cohesion paradigm into their development policy. All three dimensions of territorial cohesion have been examined (territorial cohesion: as a process of policy adaptation to the specificity of territorial units i.e. policy effectiveness, as the contribution of territorial assets/territorial capital to economic growth i.e. territorial effectiveness, as an enabling platform for the specific spatial objectives of development policies) with the focus on the first one. The paper is based on the results of a survey and in depth inquiries conducted with the services responsible for the broader development of the regions (mostly departments of the Marshal Offices). The study found that the representatives of regional authorities, have a relatively good understanding of the issues of territorial cohesion, but their understanding of the concept is generally narrower than the theoretical studies. Many of them considered territorial cohesion not as a separate goal but as a vehicle of achieving to social and economic cohesion. While at the conceptual level (defining territorial cohesion) most regions have emphasized the role of endogenous growth factors, this has been slightly abandoned at the policy programming stage. In programming of intraregional policies the more traditional approach dominates. Regions usually delimitate different types of areas. This takes place generally on the basis of negative criteria (e.g. problem areas). But the study also, shows the evolution of the approach (forced mainly by EU regulations), which gives rise to a better implementation of the territorial cohesion concept in regional policies.

The paper presents the results of the project financed by the Polish National Science Centre “Concept of the territorial cohesion in cohesion policy. Implications for Economic Growth" (no. 2012/05/B/HS4/04212).


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  • JEL:R11, R12, R58
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