Symmetry or asymmetry? Cross-border openness of service providers in Polish-Czech and Polish-German border towns

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Abstract

The symmetry and/or asymmetry in terms of cross-border openness of service providers is examined in this article, for the cases of two border twin towns: Cieszyn/Český Těšín at the Polish-Czech border, and Gubin/Guben at the Polish-German border. To assess the level of openness of firms towards clients from the other side of the border, four trans-border categories were examined: neighbour’s language visible at store location; business offers in the language of the neighbour; the possibilities of payment in the neighbour’s currency; and the staff’s knowledge of the language. This enabled a comparison of both parts of the particular twin towns in relation to the character of cross-border openness, as well as an assessment of their symmetry/asymmetry. Comparisons of Gubin/Guben and Cieszyn/Český Těšín with respect to the analysed features were also carried out. The analysis shows significant variation in the level of cross-border openness towards clients from neighbouring countries. Whereas in the Polish-Czech town a relative symmetry was observed, in the Polish-German case, significant asymmetry was noted.

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