Vol. 12 No. 4 (2023)
Full Research Articles

A systematic literature review on the rural-urban well-being gap in Europe

Cesare Meloni
University of Tuscia
Benedetto Rocchi
University of Florence
Simone Severini
University of Tuscia

Published 2023-12-31


  • well-being,
  • rural areas,
  • income gap,
  • Europe

How to Cite

Meloni, C., Rocchi, B., & Severini, S. (2023). A systematic literature review on the rural-urban well-being gap in Europe. Bio-Based and Applied Economics, 12(4), 305–321. https://doi.org/10.36253/bae-13178


A large amount of policy support is spent to foster the development of rural areas in Europe. However, empirical evidence on the well-being differential between rural and urban areas in Europe is scant and incomplete. The present study develops a systematic literature review on this topic, bridging a gap in research as a systematic analysis on the subject has not been developed as far as we know. It uses the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) method. The review focuses on definitions of rural-urban most used in the literature, main dimensions of well-being that are analyzed, nature of the data and, finally, evidence that emerged regarding the differences in the various dimensions of well-being between rural and urban populations. The analysis confirms that available evidence is controversial and provides advice on how to develop new and better empirical analyses on this topic.


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