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Transdisciplinary Discourses on Cross-Border Cooperation in Europe


Edited By Joachim Beck

In the context of European integration, cross-border cooperation has become increasingly important. Following both the quantitative and qualitative expansion of this policy-field, it has repeatedly been the subject of scientific analysis in the past. However, as a result of the classical differentiation of the scientific system, it was mostly viewed from a monodisciplinary perspective. This publication aims at the foundation of a trans-disciplinary research approach in the field of European cross-border cooperation. It takes the multi-dimensional reality of practical territorial cooperation in Europe as a starting point and develops a transdisciplinary scientific approach. Based on a common analytic frame of reference, practical patterns of cross-border policy-making in different European border regions are analyzed from the integrated theoretical perspectives of various scientific disciplines: Political Science, Geography, Sociology, History, Law, Cultural Sciences and Socio-Linguistics, Economics and Administrative Science. The scientific conceptualizations are expanded by reports from practitioners coming from different institutional and functional levels of European cross-border policy-making.

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Cooperation and borders: the economic approach (Hansjörg Drewello / Jean-Alain Héraud)


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Cooperation and borders: the economic approach

Hansjörg DREWELLO, Jean-Alain HÉRAUD

1.  Introduction

Cross-border cooperation is a topic on which economists in a broad sense, i.e. including specialists of management science or organizations’ theorists, can provide useful insights. Nevertheless, cross-border cooperation is too specific a subject to be central to those fields. More precisely, while the general issue of cooperation among actors and the analysis of border phenomena are part of well-established specialties in economics and management, they are considered separately only.

Border phenomena are typical subjects to geographic economics and regional economics. The growing importance of cross-border economic integration led regional economists and economic geographers to investigate the specific case of the geo-political market segmentation created by borders. Administrative borders are specific contexts impacting on the classical functioning of labor markets, industrial development, the management of environment, etc. If applied to regions close to national borders, border effects are mainly understood as constraints leading to the deformation of “natural” laws in spatial economics, e.g. in gravitational models (Tinbergen, 1962; McCallum, 1995).

Underlining the fact that cooperation is not fundamentally linked to border issues in economic literature, a single remark will be made presently: An optimal economic situation could be restored or at least approximated, if cooperation on a political and administrative level can diminish border effects by reduction of normative, legal, fiscal, and other regulatory discrepancies.

There is no economic theory of...

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