Effects, opportunity costs and spillovers of EU Cohesion Policy

Client/Funding Institution

Anniversary Fund of the Oesterreichische Nationalbank


This project aimed at contributing to the discussion on the future, post-2020 EU Cohesion Policy (CP). In the past, CP has been the main tool to promote growth and convergence across the EU, thus having positive direct effects on the net recipient countries and also indirect ones on the net payer countries. Still, there is a never-ending debate on the rationale of CP, partly in favour of it, partly doubting its usefulness. The 2021-2027 EU budget funds to be expected will likely become scarcer, not only because of the Brexit but also because of the emergence of new priorities such as migration and security. In respect of these forthcoming challenges the debate on the effects, opportunity costs and spillovers of CP becomes fundamental. A quantitative estimation permits a more balanced assessment of the costs and benefits of CP for net paying Member States (MS) and a broader view of CP support to EU growth in general. Against this background the project aimed to: a) estimate the effects of CP on regional GDP growth; b) analyse the opportunity costs of CP investments (by investment priorities and geographical distribution); c) analyse the macroeconomic spillovers of CP investments in one country on the development in other EU MS; and d) analyse these spillovers at the regional level.


September 2018 - June 2020

wiiw team Leader

Roman Römisch

wiiw Staff

Amat Adarov, Birgit Buschbom, Richard Grieveson, Stefan Jestl, Ambre Maucorps, Robert Stehrer, David Zenz


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Keywords: Cohesion Policy, EU, Member States, EU growth, GDP, employment and productivity growth, macroeconomic spillovers, regional level

Countries covered: EU27

Research Areas: Regional Development