This paper examines the impact of Objective 1 funding in Europe in reducing country and regional disparities in gross value added per capita by presenting a critical review of both empirical studies and end-of-term programme reports. In practice, it is very difficult to establish impact effects because it is hard to establish the counterfactual. This difficulty arises as a consequence of different theoretical predictions as to what would happen in the absence of intervention, overlapping funding streams, and the regional impact of other policies such as European integration. There are also evaluation problems caused by data inadequacies and noise. Even so, the balance of evidence suggests that Objective�1 funding has had remarkably little demonstrable impact and there is, therefore, a strong case for reform.