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Assess the extent to which models of regional development can help to explain how disparities develop within a country.

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Introduction

Regional Disparity Essay (1st Draft) 2. Assess the extent to which models of regional development can help to explain how disparities develop within a country. This essay explores how disparities develop within a country and the extent to which models of regional development can help to explain how disparities develop within a country. A disparity occurs when one area is more developed and better off in terms of social and economic welfare. These involve aspects such as people's average income, access to education, access to healthcare, access to resources for their well-being and the amount of their general happiness and satisfaction. This can occur on several scales such as local, national and global. For example disparities on a local scale would be within a town or city such as London, where people living in certain areas have better living levels than others (e.g. East Ham is more deprived than Mayfair). Disparities on a national scale would be those between certain regions for a country (e.g. North - South divide in countries such as Italy and United Kingdom. Disparities can also occur on a global scale with there generally being greater development in the northern hemisphere than the southern hemisphere. Disparities occur between core and peripheral areas usually. Core areas are the areas of greatest development and better social and economic welfare whilst the peripheral areas are often more cut off and so suffer from less development. Regional disparities occur for many reasons and often several factors can play a role. Harsh environments, shortages of capital, institutional bottlenecks, remoteness from economic activity and population explosions can all impede development whilst impacts of colonisation and improved communications for example can increase development levels and reduce disparities. ...read more.

Middle

As a result of this investment, economic growth has occurred in these regions increasing disparities with rural areas such as Campo Grande where there is little, if any foreign investment. Gunnar Myrdal developed the model of Cumulative Upward Causation to explain regional development. It states that economic growth starts with a location of new manufacturing industry. Adoption of innovations is most likely in areas possessing appropriate resources and entrepreneurial attitudes, and where change is socially acceptable. The initial advantages of such areas attract more economic activity, both directly and indirectly. Expanding businesses attract other linked forms of employment, which in turn create more wealth. This can be observed in both urban and industrial contexts. Moreover the increasing scale of economic activity enhances these multiplier effects resulting in agglomeration economies. Growth feeds on itself and virtuous circles or upward spirals ensure the continued economic success of the favoured region (as shown by diagram 1 below). It becomes the economic core of a national regional mosaic. (Diagram 1 - Cumulative causation model) In peripheral regions the processes go into reverse and downward economic spirals develop. This is known as the backwash effect, which fosters inequalities because growth in the core is at the expense of the periphery. This condition is not necessarily permanent. According to the theory, development of regional imbalances follows a three-stage sequence where in stage three the spread effects begin to reduce regional disparities. The third stage begins when wealth generated in the core eventually percolates to the periphery as a result of demand for raw materials, expansion of agriculture and the search for investment of surplus capital. ...read more.

Conclusion

Clearly in theory in the model might apply but in practice convergence will never lead to equilibrium. However it is true that the market forces as mentioned do reduce the disparities between regions in countries. In conclusion these models all are correct to a relatively large extent at what they are designed to explain. However they are based on economic growth, industrialisation, market forces or political theories and none directly address the question of how disparities develop within a country. Models by Friedmann and Mydral are most useful, as they appear to show the main reasons for why disparities might grow between regions. However they do not take into account the main criteria of development and solely rely on level of industrialisation as a development indicator. The Harrod -Domar model states that investment might be a reason for disparities however it does not consider other factors effect development and the cause of the disparity. Also it assumes economic growth is responsible for development. Rostow's model is out of date, applies to country's more than regions within them and again presumes level of development is dependent on economic status and level of industrialisation. Marx uses a political model, which is unlikely to be realised, and modern life suggest that communism does not lead top higher levels of development. The neo-classical model stated that market forces would correct disparities. However if this was correct then it why are many disparities worsening? Clearly these models explain to some extent why disparities occur within to varying degrees. None of them fully explain the reasons for the disparities and some even contradict each other confusing the situation further. Also different models apply to different regions. ...read more.

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