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Aims and Objectives                                                     ISSN: Print - 2277-9094

                                                                                                                                                  Web - 2277-9108

Regional imbalance is a matter of serious concern throughout the globe, especially in geographically large countries of the third world. In a large economy, regions with different resource bases and endowments would have dissimilar growth paths over time. However, even small differences in the growth rates, when cumulated over long periods, will create large differences in standards of living of the people across regions. Such inequality tends to generate economic, social, and political tension among regions, which may snowball into movements calling for secession of provinces/regions and ultimate breaking-up of formerly stable and powerful nation states. To prevent this, the nation state often takes redistributive policies that are not economically justified leading to misallocation of resources and negative effects on subsequent growth and development of the economy.

Theoretical generalizations about growth and regional disparities were provided in the pioneering works of Gunnar Myrdal, Albert Hirschman, and William Alonso, through the concepts of Backwash effectsSpread effects, Polarization effects, and Trickle-down effects. The seminal work of Williamson covering a broad spectrum of countries at different levels of development strongly suggested that regional disparities behave in an inverted U-shaped fashion, first increasing and then declining. This reflected the neoclassical postulate of Barro that when an economy takes off, initially regions with better resources would grow faster than others, widening regional imbalance, but later, as law of diminishing returns sets in, growth rates would converge, bridging the regional divide.

Empirical evidence on this is however debatable, especially when investment decisions are mainly in private domain. Regions with better infrastructure would attract more investment, economic activities will concentrate in core regions due to agglomeration economics, and regional inequality will rise. This was the main reason why centralised and regional economic planning was advocated to restrain regional disparity in federal countries like India. While regional imbalances were kept in check throughout most of the second half of the last century, new global economic order with focus on non-interventionist state since the last two decades has resulted in increased regional disparity in most part of the globe, including China, Russia, Mexico, South Africa, and India. Increased spatial inequality has raised several questions about both theory and experience of convergence/divergence among regions, how secessionist tendencies may be thwarted, and how to bring about balanced development of the nation state. Regional Analysis is therefore very much at the cynosure of development studies at present, strengthening the argument that development of the pieces is the only way to develop the whole.

Journal of Regional Development and Planning will publish original work that explores conceptual and empirical papers from all branches of social sciences with a focus on, but not limited to, regional development. It will provide a platform for exchange of ideas among a broad spectrum of policy makers, administrators and academics on issues related to regional studies and regional planning.