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Differences in intra-regional development in Portugal? A multivariate approach

Rego, M.C., I.J. Ramos, M.M. Oliveira, M.R. Lucas, M.S. Baltazar (2014), Differences in intra-regional development in Portugal? A multivariate approach, CEFAGE-UE Working Paper 2014/18.

In Portugal the distribution of population and economic activity is strongly asymmetrical, creating significant differences in development. Traditionally, a distinction is made, among others (e.g. north-south), between coastal and inland areas - the first is young, urban, dynamic and economically vibrant, while the second is aged, rural, declined and economically depressed. However, a more detailed analysis reveals that several inland and coastal areas are similar in their levels of development when considering their territorial capital, meaning economic, social and environmental capital.
Based on this assumption, this study aims to analyse the differences of development in Portuguese regions from a different perspective. The objective is to identify homogeneous areas, by differentiating and measuring the differences between areas more and less developed, be it in the coast or inland.
The analysis of relevant variables will be made at the NUTS III level, with data from the last Portuguese CENSUS (2011). The statistical analysis is primarily based on descriptive statistics followed by multivariate data analysis (cluster analysis, principal components analysis and discriminant analysis). The results obtained allow us to conclude that there is a large difference in terms of development levels recorded in the Portuguese regions and also that there are groups of regions with common characteristics that go beyond the classic north-south or coastal-inland distinctions. Metropolitan areas and regions more export oriented are clearly distinguishable from the rest of the country. Furthermore, the indicators typically associated with urban dimensions are those who reveal more differences across the country.

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Keywords: Multivariate approach; Portugal; Regional Development; Territorial asymmetry.