ECMI Publications Database

#117:National Minorities and Regional Development: A Comparative Overview of the Three Baltic States
Craig Willis
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This Working Paper is a mapping exercise of the minority communities in the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, with regard to the regional development within the countries. Using census data combined with a series of regional development indicators from Eurostat and OECD Regional Well-Being, an overview of each of the countries’ regions at the NUTS Level 3 is provided, as well as a comparison across all three. This research finds, through a series of bivariate regression analyses, that within and across all three countries, there is no statistical linear relationship between the percentage of minority population in a region and multiple indicators of regional development – including GDP. Rather, the main dividing line is between capital city regions and the rest of the country/s. Yet, in peripheral regions, the regional development indicators show that regions with a large minority population are not necessarily any worse off than other peripheral regions which have a low minority population – particularly the case in Lithuania. This offers some evidence that a large minority population is not a hindrance to a region’s development. Nonetheless, the research provides an overview of the challenges in which many regions home to a large percentage of minorities possess, particularly in the areas with a high ethnically Russian population percentage. Thus, this Working Paper concludes by identifying patterns and outliers of regions in order for intensified and comparative further case study research at the micro level.

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