This paper presents four case studies of economies with well-developed regional policies. These include the European Union, Spain, Italy and Brazil. These cases have been chosen because of their relevance when studying regional problems in Colombia. In all of the cases regional policy has had a relatively poor performance, since regional disparities have not been significantly reduced. However, one could argue that disparities would have been larger without these policy initiatives. Thus, the results highlight the difficulties in developing a successful regional policy.