The purpose of the article is open to debate. It presents the main conclusions from a study made in March 2017 for the Office of Analysis and Expertise of the Senate of the Republic of Poland on the merits of changes in the territorial division of the Warsaw Metropolitan Area. In this study was carried out a synthesis of the research conducted mainly by the author on the development of Warsaw Metropolitan Area and the Mazowieckie voivodship, including the impact of the capital and delimitation of its functional urban area. In its summary were formulated the most important conclusions, arguing for finding a compromise solution, aimed at establishing a new administrative division system, taking into account both the daily urban system, spatial cohesion needs, and the interests of residents and entrepreneurs. Due to the importance of the area, including Warsaw’s functions as a capital city, the conclusions apply to the whole Poland.
Several theories of regional development (e.g. new economic geography) claim positive relationship between administrative status of capital cities and their economic and population growth. Availability of capital goods as well as direct and indirect demand generated by administrative institutions are among factors which accelerate development. However, most of empirical studies so far have concentrated either on national capitals or on federal states. In our article we conduct empirical tests comparing the impact of reforms implemented in 1975 and 1999 in Poland on the development of cities gaining or losing their regional capital functions. On the basis of those results the article indicates differences in impacts of both reforms and attempts to explain those differences.