The Concept of a Dual-System Model of Life and Conducting Business in Cross-Border Relations
Purpose: The aim of the article is to present the assumptions of the concept of a dual-system model of life in border areas. The article also aims to indicate the motives for choosing a cross-border area for settlement or business. The aims of the article are to fill a gap in the theoretical approach to the whole issue of permanent settlement or temporary residence of people in border areas. Design/Methodology/Approach: The article applies a systems approach to generalize social and economic phenomena observed in border areas, primarily focusing on the Polish-German border. The author's earlier research and fieldwork provide the basis for most of the observations. Similar phenomena can be found in the German-Dutch, German-Swiss, and Polish-Czech borders. The scientific content of the article is particularly relevant to the internal borders of the European Union and countries with open borders that allow free movement of people and goods. The research method is a descriptive model based on research and a literature review. Findings: The dual-system model of living and economic activity posits that people settle on both sides of the border due to the numerous advantages derived from the disparities between the two countries. Individuals or households select countries based on their own interests, creating a living model that incorporates the characteristics and resources of both systems. In terms of the economic system, these advantages encompass better job opportunities in terms of wages, taxes, benefits, working conditions, and flexibility. Additionally, the economic system enables individuals to engage in cross-border business activities, taking advantage of market disparities, taxation differences, labor resources, and costs. Residents on both sides of the border also benefit from the diverse range of trade and services available in the neighboring country. Furthermore, the study reveals that there are social and cultural benefits associated with living on the other side of the border. People gain exposure to their own indigenous culture while experiencing the cultural offerings of the neighboring country, leading to enriched experiences and new impressions. Consequently, individuals adopting this dual-system approach acquire a new set of advantages and disadvantages compared to the traditional model of functioning within a single country. Practical Implications: Understanding the mechanisms and motives of the dual-system way of life and settlement based on the balance of benefits provides a foundation for creating cross-border strategic documents and development policies for these areas. Examples include Polish cities divided by the Odra and Nysa Łużycka rivers, as well as the large port city of Szczecin (Stettin), whose influence extends beyond national borders, gradually forming a cross-border metropolitan area. Originality/Value: The concept/model of dual-system motives for settlement, lifestyle, and economic activities has not been widely discussed in scientific literature. In some publications, definitions referring to hybridity or cross-border regions can be found, but often the focus is on a more detailed examination of only one of the neighboring countries or regions.