Studying cross-border regions requires an interdisciplinary approach consisting of among others micro-economics (competitive firm behaviour, local labour markets), spatial economics (rural and urban planning and architecture), policy analysis (regulatory function of government), urban geography (migration patterns), institutional sociology (administrative culture), social psychology (social cohesion) and cultural anthropology (comparative religion and values).

There is more to regional development than the assumed rational economic behaviour of firms and the equally assumed efficient allocation of resources through assumed perfect and transparent market mechanisms as postulated by neo-classical and neoliberal economic theory. These unsubstantiated claims have been refuted by institutional economics whose economic models offer a more interdisciplinary and holistic picture of human behaviour. Regional development consists of different, at times contradictory and conflicting factors of human behaviour which together create a mix which makes regions so uniquely different from each other.