June 2021

IZA DP No. 14521: Looking for a Star: Evaluating the Effect of the Cohesion Policy on Regional Well-Being

Giuseppe Albanese, Vincenzo Carrieri, Maria Maddalena Speziali

This paper presents new evidence on the last concluded wave (2007-2013) of the EU cohesion policy. We depart from the broadly used GDP-growth approach and evaluate the impact of EU Structural Funds (SFs) on a battery of regional well-being indicators including economic, educational, health, and demographic outcomes. We exploit the SFs assignment rule to construct a fuzzy RDD. Our results reveal an overall null effect of the policy. We further identify how regional (i) quality of government (ii) human capital and (iii) urbanization impact the policy's effectiveness. We conclude that these characteristics affect the relationship between SFs and economic outcomes only.