42nd Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "From Industry to Advanced Services - Perspectives of European Metropolitan Regions", August 27th - 31st, 2002, Dortmund, Germany
This paper is analysing the regional disparities within Slovenia in the 1990s, with the ambition of identifying the convergence and divergence producing forces. Two groups of factors have had profound impact on regional disparities: (1) the transition from the socialist to a market economy, combined with the transition from the regional to a national economy and (2) the global spatial transformation processes spurred by the internationalisation of the economy and the accession process to the EU. Taking other transition and EU countries as a benchmark, it is shown that the Slovenian regions' economic performance was to a great extent following the general rule: regional disparities have increased, and so has economic agglomeration. However, Slovenia's small size, its good internal infrastructural connectedness and extensive regional policy in the period between 1971 and 1990 have resulted in some surprising findings; (1) the economic agglomeration has increased, but only marginally and was not focused towards the capital (the hub); (2) the institutional and administrative reform did not seem to have a regionally biased effect - at least not from the employment perspective; (3) the industrial specialization of non-central regions has turned out to be a strong convergence producing force; (4) the developed regions have, as expected, attracted more FDIs - the regional concentration, however, was much less significant than in the other transition counties, so that the FDIs seem to represent an important 'window of opportunity' - for faster growth - especially for intermediate regions. The paper finishes off with the regional policy analysis and implications.