nep-geo New Economics Papers
on Economic Geography
Issue of 2006‒02‒12
fourteen papers chosen by
Vassilis Monastiriotis
London School of Economics

  1. Economic Growth of Agglomerations and Geographic Concentration of Industries – Evidence for Germany By Kurt Geppert; Martin Gornig; Axel Werwatz
  2. Human Capital Externalities and Growth of High- and Low-Skilled Jobs By Jens Suedekum
  3. Trend in European Manufacturing Location: Country versus Region By Eleonora CUTRINI
  4. "Traditional knowledge" and local development trajectories By Antonio G. CALAFATI
  5. Persistent Uneven Spread of Economic Activities within Developing RIAs By Souleymane COULIBALY
  6. O que é o urbano, no mundo contemporâneo By Roberto Luís Monte-Mór
  7. Fertility and spatial mobility: evidence from Austria By Hill Kulu
  8. Knowledge networks and innovative performance in an industrial district. The case of a footwear district in the South of Italy By Ron A. Boschma; Anne L.W. ter Wal
  9. Internalizing urban congestion with tariffs instruments : acceptability and decision By Mathias REYMOND
  10. Child Labor, Urban Proximity and Household Composition By Marcel Fafchamps; Jackline Wahba
  11. Spatial Effects of Willingness-to-Pay: The Case of Nuclear Risks By Peter Zweifel; Yves Schneider; Christian Wyss
  12. An evolutionary perspective on Internet adoption by retailers in the Netherlands By Ron A. Boschma; Jesse W.J. Weltevreden
  13. Broadband Access, Telecommuting and the Urban-Rural Digital Divide By Song, Moohoun; Orazem, Peter; Singh, Rajesh
  14. Are the markets for factories and offices integrated? Evidence from Hong Kong? By Charles Ka Yui Leung; Peiling Wei; Siu Kei Wong

  1. By: Kurt Geppert; Martin Gornig; Axel Werwatz
    Abstract: The vast majority of regions in West Germany, and the EU, have become more similar in terms of per-capita income and productivity between 1980 and 2000. But a number of rich areas - generally large agglomerations - have succeeded in departing from this trend of convergence. They are continuing to rise above the average productivity level. We examine whether this development can also be seen as due to changes in the spatial distribution of economic sectors. Knowledge-intensive services in particular are identified as industries that combine employment growth and further geographical concentration. Logistical and nonparametric regressions confirm a positive relation between the regional weight of sectors that are continuing to concentrate geographically and the probability that this region will develop ahead of the general trend. We find that increasing localisation of fast growing industries is an important factor behind the changes in the spatial pattern of the economy.
    Keywords: regional convergence, knowledge-intensive services, industry-specific local linkages, logistical regressions, non-parametric regressions
    JEL: C14 C16 R12 R30
    Date: 2006–01
  2. By: Jens Suedekum (University of Konstanz and IZA Bonn)
    Abstract: In this paper I analyze the impact of human capital on local employment growth for the case of West Germany (1977-2002). I find robust evidence that skilled cities grow faster than unskilled ones, but this need not indicate localized human capital externalities are at work. A large initial share of high-skilled workers significantly reduces subsequent growth of highskilled jobs. The observed positive impact on total employment growth is, therefore, due to the fact that low-skilled jobs grow faster than high-skilled jobs decline in initially skilled cities. This evidence is in line with complementarities among skill groups as the major causal link between human capital and employment growth. It challenges theories of self-reinforcing spatial concentration of high-skilled workers due to strong localized spillovers.
    Keywords: human capital, local employment growth, externalities
    JEL: R11 O40
    Date: 2006–02
  3. By: Eleonora CUTRINI (Universita' Politecnica delle Marche, Dipartimento di Economia)
    Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether and to what extent European manufacturing location has been driven by regional localisation or national comparative advantages during the period 1985-2001. To this end, the relative concentration pattern of each industry is disentangled into within and between country components. The original methodology adopted is based on the use of the Theil dissimilarity entropy index allowing to handle two geographical levels of analysis. The evidence suggests that the agglomeration of manufacturing industries is more likely to find expression between the internal regions of each country rather than across countries. Counterintuitively, after the completion of the Single European Market the relevance of national border remains stable or even increase in the localisation of the majority of the sectors considered.
    Keywords: Theil dissimilarity entropy index, comparative advantages, european economic integration, european internal geography, relative concentration
    JEL: L16 L60 O18 O52 R12
    Date: 2005–12
  4. By: Antonio G. CALAFATI (Universita' Politecnica delle Marche, Dipartimento di Economia)
    Abstract: The paper discusses the concept of "traditional knowledge": its definition, economic significance and role in shaping regional development trajectories. After outlining a conceptual framework for the analysis of traditional knowledge, the paper examines the changing position of traditional knowledge in two Italian regions that have followed quite different development trajectories since the 1950s: the "Sibillini Mountains Region", which has one of the most complex human landscapes in Europe, and the "Marche Region footwear industrial district", one of the best performing territories in Italy during the decades 1950-2000. The analysis seems to corroborate the hypothesis that the role of traditional knowledge depends on a complex interplay between meta-preferences, relative prices and technologies coevolving in time.
    JEL: O12 O18 R10 R11
    Date: 2005–12
  5. By: Souleymane COULIBALY
    Abstract: One of the striking features of many developing Regional Integration Areas (RIAs) is the strong asymmetry between countries. In this paper, we consider a three-country two-sector model in a footloose capital framework. Two of these countries are involved in a regional integration process while the third is left out of the union. They are "port-like" economies where only one region is endowed with international infrastructures, so that imports and exports between trading partners necessarily pass through this transit region. The comparative statics of our model show that better domestic transport infrastructure helps to attract a higher share of footloose activity when trade costs within the RIA are lowered, inducing a persistent uneven spread of the mobile sector between the member countries. If the domestic infrastructure levels of these countries are both raised towards a high-quality level, a convergence process is triggered to the disadvantage of the country left outside the RIA.
    Keywords: uneven development; regional integration area; convergence
    JEL: F12 F15 R12
    Date: 2006–01
  6. By: Roberto Luís Monte-Mór (Cedeplar-UFMG)
    Abstract: Central concepts of contemporary life-politics, civilization, and citizenship-derive from city form and organization. The city expresses the socio-spatial division of labor and Henri Lefebvre proposes to think of its transformation on the bases of a continuum that extends from the political city to the urban, when and where it completes its domination over the countryside. The city's transformation into the urban was marked by the industrial takeover that brought production - and the working class - to that space of power. The city, locus of the surplus, power and the fiesta, a privileged scenario of social reproduction, was thus subordinated to the industrial logic. The city thus suffered a double process: its centrality imploded upon itself and its outskirts exploded upon surrounding areas through the urban tissue, which carried within it the germ of the polis and the civitas. Therefore, the urban praxis, formerly restricted to the city, has now re-politicized social space as a whole. In Brazil, the urban had its origin in the concentrating and integrating politics of the military governments that gave sequence to Vargas's centralization and expansionism and Kubitschek's developmental interiorization. Today, the urban-industrial process imposes itself virtually over all social space, along the extended urbanization of our days.
    Keywords: city, Lefebvre, urban, extended urbanization
    Date: 2006–01
  7. By: Hill Kulu (Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany)
    Abstract: There is a growing body of literature looking at the interplay between an individual’s residential and other careers in the life-course. Previous research has mostly studied the impact of partnership and employment changes on spatial mobility. This paper focuses on the effect of childbearing on migrations and residential moves. We base our study on retrospective event-history data from Austria and apply intensity regression. Our analysis shows, first, that the birth of a child triggers housing- and environment-related residential relocations. Second, it significantly reduces couples’ wish and chances of moving over long distances for a job. The event of first conception also induces moves related to partnership formation.
    Keywords: Austria, event history analysis, fertility, migration, residential mobility
    JEL: J1 Z0
    Date: 2005–02
  8. By: Ron A. Boschma; Anne L.W. ter Wal
    Abstract: The traditional district literature tends to assume that: (1) the competitiveness of firms depends on external sources of knowledge; (2) all firms in a district benefit from knowledge externalities; (3) relying on external knowledge relationships necessarily means these are confined to the district area. Our case study of the Barletta footwear district in the South of Italy suggests otherwise. Based on social network analysis, we demonstrate that the local knowledge network is quite weak and unevenly distributed among the local firms. A strong local network position of a firm tended to increase their innovative performance, and so did their connectivity to extra-local firms. So, it mattered being connected either locally or non-locally: being co-located was surely not enough. Having a high absorptive capacity seemed to raise only indirectly, through non-local relationships, the innovative performance of firms.
    Keywords: evolutionary economics, new economic geography, social networks, innovative performance, Italy
    Date: 2006–01
  9. By: Mathias REYMOND
    Abstract: In order to act of better than possible on the level of urban congestion downtown and on the various external effects (sound, pollution...), the political decision maker must carry out choices among a multitude of tariffs instruments (urban toll, parking toll, kilometric taxation, alternative paying roadway...), by holding account of the effectiveness of measurement used and of his effects on collective acceptability. In this article, we develop these various public policies of internalisation using concrete applications and we analyze the results by comparing them and we are interested in the choices of the decision maker according to the objectives laid down by the policies of urban transport.
    Keywords: Congestion, externalities, public policy, pricing, acceptability
    JEL: R41 R48
    Date: 2006
  10. By: Marcel Fafchamps (University of Oxford); Jackline Wahba (University of Southampton and IZA Bonn)
    Abstract: Using detailed survey data from Nepal, this paper examines the determinants of child labor with a special emphasis on urban proximity. We find that children residing in or near urban centers attend school more and work less in total but are more likely to be involved in wage work or in a small business. The larger the urban center, the stronger the effect is. Urban proximity is found to reduce the workload of children and improve school attendance up to 3 hours of travel time from the city. In areas of commercialized agriculture located 3 to 7 hours from the city, children do more farm work. Urban proximity effects are accounted for by a combination of local labor supply and demand conditions, most notably the local importance of agriculture, the education level of the parents, and the local wage rate. Child servants, which represent a small proportion of all children, work much harder than other children and appear particularly at risk.
    Keywords: child labour, Nepal, child schooling, urban proximity
    JEL: J10 J22 J24 J40 N35
    Date: 2006–02
  11. By: Peter Zweifel (Socioeconomic Institute, University of Zurich); Yves Schneider (Socioeconomic Institute, University of Zurich); Christian Wyss
    Abstract: This paper examines the spatial dimension of external effects stemming from nuclear power plants. Using data from a stated choice experiment conducted in Switzerland, marginal willingness to pay (MWP) for risk reduction and willingness to pay (WTP) for solving the nuclear waste problem are estimated. Interestingly, MWP for risk reduction increases with distance from the power plant, while WTP for solving the waste problem decreases in the vicinity of the plant and is zero thereafter. These findings suggest that distance is endogenous with respect to coverage because consumers self-insure through their residential choice, but exogenous (and of lesser relevance) with respect to the waste disposal problem.
    Keywords: nuclear energy, spatial effects of externalities, stated choice experiment
    JEL: R19 R22 D89 Q40
    Date: 2005–01
  12. By: Ron A. Boschma; Jesse W.J. Weltevreden
    Abstract: The paper analyses from an evolutionary perspective how retailers respond and adapt to b2c e-commerce. As such, the paper explores the diversity of behavior of retailers with respect to the adoption of e-commerce. More in particular, it examines empirically the extent to which the adoption of Internet strategies is affected by firm-specific features (e.g., habits of the entrepreneur, routines of firms), network relationships, and geographical proximity. Logistic regression analyses of 643 independent retailers in the Netherlands suggest that geography matters, controlling for other factors. That is, the probability of having an Internet strategy increases significantly when (a) the more knowledge spillovers are locally available; (b) the more demanding local customers are; and (c), the less rivalry is present locally.
    Keywords: evolutionary economics, Internet strategies, retailers, city centres, the Netherlands
    JEL: A12 D21 L81 R00
    Date: 2006–01
  13. By: Song, Moohoun; Orazem, Peter; Singh, Rajesh
    Abstract: We investigate the role of broadband access on the probability of telecommuting and whether individuals who work from home receive greater compensation. We also assess whether telecommuting differs between more- and less-densely populated areas. Telecommuting responds positively to local average commuting time and to local access to High-Speed Internet service. Differences in broadband access explain three-fourths of the gap in telecommuting between urban and rural markets. Telecommuters and other IT users do not earn significantly more than otherwise observationally comparable workers. Already highly skilled and highly paid workers are the most likely to telecommute and so they do not earn more because they telecommute. As broadband access improves in rural markets, the urban-rural gap in telecommuting will diminish. The urban-rural pay gap will also decrease if improved broadband access induces some already highly paid urban workers to move to rural areas.
    Keywords: Broadband, Telecommuting, Commuting, Earnings, Urban, Rural
    JEL: O3
    Date: 2006–02–02
  14. By: Charles Ka Yui Leung; Peiling Wei; Siu Kei Wong
    Abstract: Due to the relocation of manufacturing facilities from Hong Kong to Mainland China, it is widely believed that some vacant private factories have been used as offices in Hong Kong. Yet there is no direct and systematic evidence to support this speculation. In fact, according to MacGregor and Schwann (2003), industrial and commercial real estate shares some common features. Our research attempts to investigate empirically the price and volume relationship between industrial and commercial real estate, using both aggregate and disaggregate data from the industrial and commercial property markets in Hong Kong. The study was built on the observation that economic restructuring and geographical distance will affect the substitutability (and thus the correlation) of different types of property, and utilizes commonly used time series techniques for analysis. Policy implications are discussed.
    Keywords: aggregation bias, geographical distance, industrial real estate, substitutability
    JEL: G12 L80 R30
    Date: 2006–02

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