Structural funds and the knowledge-based economy
: a regional case-study (1999-2009)

  • Karolina Wrona

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The research presented in this thesis investigates the nature of the relationship between the development of the Knowledge-Based Economy (KBE) and Structural Funds (SF) in European regions. A particular focus is placed on the West Midlands (UK) and Silesia (Poland). The time-frame taken into account in this research is the years 1999 to 2009.
This is methodologically addressed by firstly establishing a new way of calculating the General Index of the KBE for all of the EU regions; secondly, applying a number of statistical methods to measure the influence of the Funds on the changes in the regional KBE over time; and finally, by conducting a series of semi-structured stakeholder interviews in the two key case study regions: the West Midlands and Silesia.
The three main findings of the thesis are: first, over the examined time-frame, the values of the KBE General Index increased in over 66% of the EU regions; furthermore, the number of the “new” EU regions in which the KBE increased over time is far higher than in the “old” EU. Second, any impact of Structural Funds on the regional KBE occurs only in the minority of the European regions and any form of functional dependency between the two can be observed only in 30% of the regions. Third, although the pattern of development of the regional KBE and the correlation coefficients differ in the cases of Silesia and the West Midlands, the analysis of variance carried out yields identical results for both regions. Furthermore, the qualitative analysis’ results show similarities in the approach towards the Structural Funds in the two key case-study regions.
Date of Award27 Jan 2014
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorEd Turner (Supervisor) & Nathaniel Copsey (Supervisor)


  • knowledge-based economy
  • structural funds
  • regional development
  • West Midlands
  • Silesia

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