The European Regional Policy supports the most disadvantaged regions of the EU, aiming to foster a long-run convergence process. Between 2007 and 2013, the EU devoted substantial resources to low-income convergence regions, covering about one quarter of the EU population. Like other disadvantaged areas, Southern Italy received conspicuous funding. This work attempts to evaluate the effect of the intensive funding on local labour market participation across the convergence regions of Southern Italy, using a Diff-in-Diff identification strategy in a Dynamic Spatial Framework. An element of strength in this study is represented by the NUTS-3 dataset employed, drawn from official records. Controlling for socio-economic covariates, autoregressive components and spatial spillovers, the results obtained show a negative impact of the intensive EU funding on labour market participation. Many reasons may account for this phenomenon, ranging from poor targeting and monitoring, to the distortionary effects of the funds, to the strategic behaviour of the national government.
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