nep-geo New Economics Papers
on Economic Geography
Issue of 2006‒03‒11
fifteen papers chosen by
Vassilis Monastiriotis
London School of Economics

  1. The governance of integrated regional development and the role of geographical information systems: Managing complex information relations between two different worlds By Arjan Venrooy
  2. Convergence of EU-Regions. A Literature Report By Hans-Friedrich Eckey; Matthias Türck
  3. Patterns of Specialization and Concentration in a Polarized Country: the case of Italian Regions By Maria Giovanna Bosco
  4. Regional Productivity Differentials: Explaining the Gap By Martin Boddy; John Hudson; Anthony Plumridge; Don Webber
  6. Inter-provincial Migration of Income Among Canada's Older Population: 1996-2001 By K. Bruce Newbold
  7. Home biased? A spatial analysis of the domestic merging behavior of US firms By Michael Grote; Marc Umber
  8. Indirect Construction of Hedonic Price Indexes: Empirical Evidence for Private Properties in Switzerland By Stefan S. Fahrlaender
  9. A Simple Theory of Smart Growth and Sprawl By Matthew Allen Turner
  10. Racial Segregation and the Black-White Test Score Gap By David Card; Jesse Rothstein
  11. The symbiotic division of labour between heterogeneous districts. The development of ornamental horticulture in the Netherlands and Italy. By Fiorenza Belussi; Silvia Rita Sedita
  12. DECENTRALIZATION AND EFFIENCY IN SPANISH LOCAL GOVERMENT By Emili Tortosa Ausina; Diego Prior; María Teresa Balaguer-Coll
  13. Towards a new policy framework for the enlarged Europe: investing for growth and modernization By Robert PICCIOTTO
  14. Abgrenzung deutscher Arbeitsmarktregionen By Hans-Friedrich Eckey; Reinhold Kosfeld; Matthias Türck

  1. By: Arjan Venrooy
    Abstract: One the one hand the creation of a standardized and open geo-graphical infrastructure could facilitate the process of regional development, because the incentive for dysfunctional information politicking, in relation to the protection of specific interests and frames of reference, has to some extent disappeared. One the other hand there is possible tension between the need for tailor-made, regional focused planning solutions and the standardized nature of these nation wide infrastructures. What does the emergence of the standardized nation wide geographical information infrastructures, and the supply of information which can be generated by this infrastructure, imply for the process of co-production in local and regional, and thus contingent, urban and rural planning practices and the information and knowledge needs which are expressed in the local practices by relevant stakeholders? What does this imply for the management of information relations in these local planning and regional development practices. This is a relevant question because both the world of geographical system development and the world of integrated regional planning are separated worlds, with their own ‘rules’ and dynamic. In order to address this question we will look at a specific case of integrated regional planning and to look which factors facilitate or frustrate the effective and efficient coordination between the supply of information by these nation wide geographical infrastructures and the information needs of the actors, which are involved in a shared regional development process. This will be the Blue City initiative (‘Blauwe Stad’) in Groningen.
    Date: 2005–08
  2. By: Hans-Friedrich Eckey (Department of Economics, University of Kassel); Matthias Türck (Department of Economics, University of Kassel)
    Abstract: Convergence studies are concerned with the question of whether poor economies catch-up to wealthier economies over time. The regional convergence process in Europe has generated considerable interest in recent years. Because of financial straits regional convergence is a central question, since important funds aim at diminishing disparities. There are many studies published recently dealing with this issue using different empirical approaches. Especially the â-convergence framework, which was introduced by Barro and Sala-i-Martin, is often used. This paper provides a critical review of the different approaches and summarizes the results. Altogether it can be stated that most models find a slow convergence - global or only referring to some regions (convergence clubs).
    Keywords: Regional Convergence, Literature Report, Europe
    JEL: O41 R11 R12
    Date: 2006–02
  3. By: Maria Giovanna Bosco (ISLA, Universita' Bocconi, Milano)
    Abstract: This paper provides some synthetic descriptive data on Italy’s economic performance, policy orientation and regional trends in specialization and concentration of industries. After a brief discussion of the main country’s characteristics and economic situation, the paper focuses on a detailed statistical – regional and industrial – analysis on specialization and concentration. The dynamics is therefore compared to the performance of the main European partners and some conclusions are drawn on the prospective evolution of the industry structure.
    Keywords: Italy, specialization, concentration
    JEL: F15 R12
    Date: 2005–11
  4. By: Martin Boddy; John Hudson; Anthony Plumridge; Don Webber (School of Economics, University of the West of England)
    Abstract: Issues of productivity and competitiveness at a regional level have increasingly been a focus for both academic and policy concern. Significant and persistent differences in productivity are evident both in the UK and across Europe as a whole. This paper uses data relating to individual business units to examine the determinants of regional productivity differentials across British regions. It demonstrates that the substantial differences in regional productivity can be explained by a fairly limited set of variables. These include industry mix, the capital employed by the firm, business ownership and the skills of the local labour force. Also important are location-specific factors including travel-time from London and population density. Taken together, these factors largely explain regional productivity differentials. The analysis extends those studies that have identified but not quantified the role of different ‘productivity drivers’ in a systematic fashion or that have focused on only a limited set of drivers. It has important policy implications particular in relation to the role of travel time and possible effects of density and agglomeration.
    Keywords: Regional competitiveness; Productivity; UK; Regional development; business-data analysis;
    Date: 2005–12
  5. By: Brigitte Waldorf
    Abstract: U.S. States and communities increasingly compete for intellectual power so as to thrive toward an economically vibrant setting that spurs the entrepreneurial spirit and attracts businesses and industries from around the world. As a recent report by the U.S. census reveals, 17 U.S. States have gained such intellectual power through the net inmigration of young, single and college educated persons. The State of Indiana is among the remaining thirty-three States that have a negative net balance, even ranking among the bottom ten in their ability to attract this highly valued population segment. In fact, for every young, single, college educated inmigrant, Indiana loses nearly two to other states. However, an analysis at the state-level hides important small-scale variations. This paper therefore investigates the processes leading to changes in the spatial distribution of knowledge workers across Indiana counties, with emphases on in-situ change, retention, intra- and interstate migration. The analysis shows that these demographic changes at the county level in fact reveal a less bleak picture than the state-wide aggregate figures suggest, and uncover remarkable peaks in the landscape of intellectual capital that can serve as a catalyst for attracting intellectual capital from outside the State.
    Date: 2005–08
  6. By: K. Bruce Newbold
    Abstract: Much of the literature on internal migration in Canada has focused on the determinants of migration, as opposed to the impacts. Yet, it is likely that migration has a large impact upon the distribution and re-distribution of income across regions. Such impacts may be magnified within the older population, as their relocation involves the transfer of savings such as pensions, retirement investments, or other income supplements from province to province. Using methods proposed by Plane (1999), income-based versions of demographic effectiveness and efficiency are applied to evaluate the movement of non-earned income in the Canadian context among Canada's older population. The analysis uses data drawn from the 2001 Census, and focuses upon the older population (aged 60+ in 2001), distinguishing between three types of income, including (i) Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplements; (ii) Canada/Quebec pension plan benefits; and (iii) Retirement Investment income. In addition to evaluating the magnitude of income redistribution, the impact of primary, return, and onward migration on regional income distributions is also evaluated, illustrating the importance of return migration in transferring incomes over space.
    Keywords: Canada, migration, pension
    JEL: J11 J14 O15 R23
    Date: 2006–02
  7. By: Michael Grote; Marc Umber
    Date: 2006–02
  8. By: Stefan S. Fahrlaender
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the construction of price indexes for condominiums and single family houses in Switzerland over the period 1985 to 2004 using the indirect method. We find, that the pooling of the data, i.e. direct indexes with fixed hedonic prices, are good models for average roperties but can be biased for the indexation of non-average properties. Therefore indirect index construction using predictions for specific properties based on annual equations are recommended. Based on differentiation of forty regions it is shown, that indexes vary from region to region, but show a comparable general course between 1985 and 2004. In recent years prices for single family houses raised in the large urban areas and tourist resorts but, due to big land reserves, were stable ore even declined in smaller urban and semi-urban as well as in rural areas. Price paths for condominiums are generally comparable to those of single family houses with the big difference, that over the last three years prices were raising in most of the regions.
    Keywords: Hedonic prices; private property; direct index; indirect index; Switzerland
    JEL: C31 R31
    Date: 2006–01
  9. By: Matthew Allen Turner
    Abstract: This paper considers the simultaneous determination of residential density and the supply of local versus remote retail services. Possible equilibrium development patterns either correspond closely to what anti-sprawl activists describe as smart growth, or to its opposite. Equilibrium and optimal patterns of development do not always coincide, and when they diverge, optimal density is always than equilibrium density, and, equilibrium development is discretely rather than marginally different from the optimum. This occurs in the absence of congestion externalities, and is due to a free-rider problem and a coordination problem. The analysis indicates that a tax on large lots or a subsidy for small lots may be welfare improving under certain conditions.
    Keywords: Urban sprawl, Residential land use, Lot size,Retail location.
    JEL: R2 H0
  10. By: David Card; Jesse Rothstein
    Abstract: Racial segregation is often blamed for some of the achievement gap between blacks and whites. We study the effects of school and neighborhood segregation on the relative SAT scores of black students across different metropolitan areas, using large microdata samples for the 1998-2001 test cohorts. Our models include detailed controls for the family background of individual test-takers, school-level controls for selective participation in the test, and city-level controls for racial composition, income, and region. We find robust evidence that the black-white test score gap is higher in more segregated cities. Holding constant family background and other factors, a shift from a fully segregated to a completely integrated city closes about one-quarter of the raw black-white gap in SAT scores. Specifications that distinguish between school and neighborhood segregation suggest that neighborhood segregation has a consistently negative impact but that school segregation has no independent effect (though we cannot reject equality of the two effects). We find similar results using Census-based data on schooling outcomes for youth in different cities. Data on enrollment in honors courses suggest that within-school segregation increases when schools are more highly integrated, potentially offsetting the benefits of school desegregation and accounting for our findings.
    JEL: H73 I20 J18 J24 R20
    Date: 2006–03
  11. By: Fiorenza Belussi (University of Padua); Silvia Rita Sedita (University of Padua)
    Abstract: This article focuses upon the historical development of three ornamental horticulture districts located in the Netherlands and in Italy. The aim of our investigation is to underline the features of a global division of labour, which is driven by the specialisation of production and retailing. Despite the lack of natural resources and unfavourable climate, the high labour and energy costs, the Dutch district and the horticulture cluster based in Netherlands hold a leading position. The historical development of the three districts is very similar, but the application of science and the role of local institutions are the explanatory factor of the evolutionary path of the cluster located in the Netherlands. The Italian districts analysed, which enjoy better endowed resources are now strongly dependent by the entire Dutch cluster.
    JEL: Q1 O18 F0 R0
    Date: 2005–10
  12. By: Emili Tortosa Ausina (Universitat Jaume I); Diego Prior (Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona); María Teresa Balaguer-Coll (Universitat Jaume I)
    Abstract: This study analyzes the links between efficiency and the decentralization of competencies among Spanish local governments for years 1995 and 2000. The aim is pursued by considering a two-stage activity analysis model in which the performance of eachmunicipality is first evaluated against other municipalities with a similar level of competencies and, in a second stage, it is compared with that of other municipalities for which decentralization remains at a more preliminary stage. The model also considers an index aimed at measuring whether tendencies towards higher (or lower) benefits from decentralization might exist over time. Results suggest that some municipalities could manage their resources more efficiently if bestowed on more competencies. Although this sort of decentralization economies do not emerge for all municipalities, their magnitude clearly overshadows the diseconomies found if downscaling of decision making went too far and least decentralized municipalities were conferred on more competencies. In addition, the likely efficiency gains from enhanceddecentralization increase over time. El objetivo de este trabajo es analizar los vínculos entre eficiencia y descentralización de competencias para los ayuntamientos españoles durante los años 1995 y 2000. Para ello, se considera un modelo de análisis de la actividad en dos etapas en el que, en primer lugar, la eficiencia de cada municipio se evalúa frente a la de otros municipios con un mismo nivel de competencias y, en una segunda etapa, se compara con el de aquellos municipios para los cuales la descentralización de competencias permanece en un nivel inferior. El modelo también considera un índice que mide si hay tendencias hacia mayor -o menor- beneficios de la descentralización a lo largo del tiempo. Los resultados indican que algunos municipios podrían gestionar sus recursos más eficientemente de tener un mayor nivel de competencias. Aunqueeste tipo de economías de descentralización no existen para todos los municipios, su magnitud es superior a la magnitud de las deseconomías que se dan para otros municipios. Asimismo, lasganancias de eficiencia obtenidas de una hipotética descentralización aumentan con el tiempo.
    Keywords: Análisis de la actividad, descentralización, eficiencia, gobierno local Activity analysis, decentralization, efficiency, local government
    JEL: D24 D60 H71 H72
    Date: 2006–02
  13. By: Robert PICCIOTTO
    Abstract: European leaders aim to turn the enlarged Union into “the most co mpetitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world”. But without major increases in infrastructure investments, dynamic gr owth – the missing ingredient of the European model – will not ma terialize. Given extraordinarily tight fiscal prospects, policy r eform is imperative: (i) redeployment of resources from agricultu ral subsidies towards productive investment; (ii) selectivity and rigor in project screening; (iii) a larger role for the private sector and (iv) pricing policies designed to mobilize resources, manage demand and internalize environmental costs. Project fundin g should remain the instrument of choice for strategic infrastruc ture projects with regional integration features. Implementation performance must improve and, at country level, EU funding should be targeted to the poorest countries of the Union. Where policie s and institutions are weak, EU funding should be conditional and channeled through well-designed programs that emphasize sector w ide policy reforms, regional development and community-based init iatives.
    Keywords: Infrastructure; growth; cohesion; convergence; budget reform; regional policy.
  14. By: Hans-Friedrich Eckey (Department of Economics, University of Kassel); Reinhold Kosfeld (Department of Economics, University of Kassel); Matthias Türck (Department of Economics, University of Kassel)
    Abstract: Funktional abgegrenzte Räume wie Arbeitsmarktregionen werden u. a. für regionalökonomische Analysen benötigt. In Abhängigkeit der Definition von Wirtschaftsräumen können Regionen als wohlhabend oder "arm" erscheinen. Aber auch weitere statistische Gründe sprechen für die Verwendung von Arbeitsmarktregionen. Die für Deutschland vorliegenden Abgrenzungen von Funktionalräumen basieren noch auf Datenmaterial aus den achtziger und neunziger Jahren. Insofern ist eine Neuabgrenzung geboten. Wir setzen eine Faktorenanalyse mit schiefwinkliger Rotation ein und erhalten 150 Arbeitsmarktregionen, die sich aus einem oder mehreren Kreisen zusammensetzen. Diese Arbeitsmärkte erfüllen das Kriterium der zumutbaren Pendelzeit (maximal 45 bis 60 Minuten in Abhängigkeit der Attraktivität des Zentrums) und weisen eine Größe von mehr als 50.000 Einwohnern auf.
    Keywords: Arbeitsmarktregionen, Faktorenanalyse, Deutschland
    JEL: C21 R11 R58
    Date: 2006–03
  15. By: Graeme Wells; Thanasis Stengos
    Abstract: Using a Solow-Swan model with a stochastic saving rate and stochastic productivity we analyse the distributions of parameter estimates that emerge under various choices of technology, and of the dimension of the panel on which cross-section regressions are based. There are distinct asymmetries that characterize these distributions. These asymmetries become more pronounced when the effects of a near-unit root in the productivity shock become magnified over a longer time horizon and when the underlying production function is not Cobb-Douglas. Consequently, relying on traditional econometric transformations of these parameter estimates based on symmetric distributions, such as t-ratios, will be quite misleading if one tries to assess technology parameters and b-convergence.
    Date: 2006–01

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