Abstract. Recent contributions to the regional science literature have considered spatial effects in empirical growth specifications. In the case of spatial dependence, following theoretical arguments from new economic geography, and endogenous growth models, this phenomenon has been associated with the existence of externalities that cross regional borders. However, despite the general consensus that interactions or externalities are likely to be the major source of spatial dependence, they have been modelled in a rather ad hoc manner in most existing empirical studies. In contrast, we advocate basing the analysis on structural growth models which include externalities across economies, applying the appropriate spatial econometrics tools to test for their presence and estimate the magnitude of these externalities in the real world.