Condemned to Success (Failure)? The Allocation of EU Funds among Polish Municipalities

Monika Banaszewska


Objective: The aim of the paper is twofold. First, we investigate the mobility of Polish municipalities within the distribution of per capita EU fund expenditures over two terms of office: 2007–2010 and 2011–2014. The resulting joint distribution serves as the basis for some empirical analyses. Second, we consider the relationship between mobility and social capital in 16 Polish regions.

Research Design & Methods: We make use of a transition probability matrix and rank-rank regression. Additionally, we employ Spearman’s rank correlation and Kendall’s rank correlation. Both nation-wide and region-specific analyses are conducted.

Findings: The municipalities most (least) successful in attracting EU funds in the 2007–2010 period tended to maintain their positions in the 2011–2014 period. The relative and absolute mobility of municipalities – EU funds beneficiaries – differ considerably across regions. There is a significant negative correlation between within-region absolute mobility and the level of bridging social capital within regions.

Implications/Recommendations: The persistence of municipalities at the ends of the EU fund absorption ranking can facilitate forecasts of the spatial allocation of EU funds and, consequently, its effects.

Contribution: To the author’s best knowledge, the study constitutes the first empirical analysis of within-distribution mobility of municipalities – EU funds beneficiaries. We also provide an initial study on the nexus between social capital and mobility within the ranking of EU funds beneficiaries. Adding to an earlier study by Swianiewicz et al. (2008), we show that the allocation of EU funds in Poland is affected by the level and structure of social capital.


Cohesion Policy, relative mobility, absolute mobility, transition probability matrix

Full Text:



Bachtler, J., Martins, J. O., Wostner, P. and Zuber, P. (2017) Towards Cohesion Policy 4.0: Structural Transformation and Inclusive Growth RSA Europe. Regional Studies Association Brussels.

Baldwin, R. E. and Wyplosz, C. (2009) The Economics of European Integration. London: McGraw-Hill Education.

Banaszewska, M. and Bischoff, I. (2017) “The Political Economy of EU-funds: Evidence from Poland”. Jahrbücher für Nationalökonomie und Statistik 237(3),

Becker, S. O., Egger, P. H. and von Ehrlich, M. (2012) “Too Much of a Good Thing? On the Growth Effects of the EU’s Regional Policy”. European Economic Review 56(4),

Bednarek-Szczepańska, M. (2013) “Zróżnicowanie przestrzenne kapitału społecznego w Polsce – ujęcie przeglądowe” [Spatial differentiation of social capital in Poland – a review]. Przegląd Geograficzny 85(4),

Chetty, R., Hendren, N., Kline, P. and Saez, E. (2014a) “Where is the Land of Opportunity? The Geography of Intergenerational Mobility in the United States”. The Quarterly Journal of Economics 129(4),

Chetty, R., Hendren, N., Kline, P., Saez, E. and Turner, N. (2014b) “Is the United States Still a Land of Opportunity? Recent Trends in Intergenerational Mobility”. American Economic Review 104(5),

Giannetti, M. (2002) “The Effects of Integration on Regional Disparities: Convergence, Divergence or Both?”. European Economic Review 46(3),

Knack, S. and Keefer, P. (1997) “Does Social Capital Have an Economic Payoff? A Cross-country Investigation”. The Quarterly Journal of Economics 112(4),

Kyriacou, A. P. and Roca-Sagalés, O. (2012) “The Impact of EU Structural Funds on Regional Disparities within Member States”. Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy 30(2),

Misiąg, J., Misiąg, W. and Tomalak, M. (2013) Ocena efektywności wykorzystania pomocy finansowej Unii Europejskiej jako instrumentu polityki spójności społeczno-gospodarczej oraz poprawy warunków życia [The assessment of European Union financial aid utilization efficiency as the instrument of socio-economic cohesion and the improvement in living conditions]. Rzeszów: Wyższa Szkoła Informatyki i Zarządzania.

Muraközy, B. and Telegdy, Á. (2016) “Political incentives and state subsidy allocation: Evidence from Hungarian municipalities”. European Economic Review 89,

Putnam, R. (1993) Making Democracy Work. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Swianiewicz, P., Herbst, J., Lackowska, M. and Mielczarek, A. (2008) Szafarze darów europejskich. Kapitał społeczny a realizacja polityki regionalnej w polskich województwach [The dispensers of European donations. Social capital and the implementation of regional policy in Polish regions]. Warszawa: Scholar.

Veiga, L. G. (2012) “Determinants of the Assignment of EU Funds to Portuguese Municipalities”. Public Choice 153(1–2),

Whiteley, P. F. (2000) “Economic Growth and Social Capital”. Political Studies 48(3),

Woolcock, M. (1998) “Social Capital and Economic Development: Toward a Theoretical Synthesis and Policy Framework”. Theory and Society 27(2).