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Regional Disparities on The New Silk Road: Some Thoughts about Regional Convergence

Abstract

Regional disparities are a research and political theme that has received considerable attention. This is also because regional disparities constitute a pull factor of migration, because high regional disparities may seriously threaten territorial integrity, and because socioeconomic development potential is not fully realized in lagging regions. Not surprisingly, regional disparities are an important research and political theme for New Silk Road countries and this is also reflected in the focus of this paper. The primary aim of this paper is to characterize regional disparities in selected New Silk Road countries, namely in China, in Russia and in Visegrad Four countries, and subsequently to discuss the relationship between regional disparities and the One Belt, One Road Initiative. The results point out the presence of a pattern of regional disparities in the countries. In this regard, the importance of the East-West gradient, of spatial hierarchy, and of inherited specialization is particularly emphasized. Reflecting the pattern of regional disparities, the potential of the One Belt, One Road Initiative to stimulate development of lagging regions is indicated.

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