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Abstract

Globalisation has produced different outcomes regarding the convergence of disparities between countries and regions within integrated areas. Automatic convergence mechanisms postulated by classical economics have not always worked as predicted, as seen in the European Union (EU) experience. Further, regional policies within large integrated areas are difficult to manage given their complex planning and management. This article introduces the concept of Integrated Peripheral Zones (IPZ), defined as sub-regional integration schemes of neighbouring - and similar - economies belonging to different political units; and argues that the integration of the peripheries is crucial for successfully reducing disparities within larger areas, as some of these regions can even belong to their own countries ‘periphery‘. An example of these areas is ZICOSUR, comprising some of the least developed provinces belonging to the countries of MERCOSUR. This article argues that permanent and independent institutions are needed in order to formulate long term policies and focus on necessary infrastructure development.

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