nep-geo New Economics Papers
on Economic Geography
Issue of 2007‒01‒28
seventeen papers chosen by
Vassilis Monastiriotis
London School of Economics

  1. Spatial Concentration of Creative Industries in Los Angeles By Sascha Brinkhoff
  2. Local Economies and General Elections By Elinder, Mikael
  3. The Creative Class or Human Capital? - explaining regional development in Sweden By Mellander, Charlotta; Florida, Richard
  4. Return and Onwards Migration among Older Canadians: Findings from the 2001 Census By K. Bruce Newbold
  5. Supervised regionalization methods, a survey. By Juan Carlos Duque; Raul Ramos; Jordi Suriñach
  6. Decomposing the growth in residential land in the United States By Henry G. Overman; Diego Puga; Matthew A. Turner
  7. Mortgage Pricing Differentials Across Hispanic, Black, and White Households: Evidence from the American Housing Survey By HUD – PD&R
  8. Where Should the Elderly Live and Who Should Pay for their Care? A Study in Demographics and Geographical Economic By Aronsson, Thomas; Blomquist, Sören; Micheletto, Luca
  9. Economía Urbana y Calidad de Vida. Una revisión del estado del conocimiento en España. By Vicente Royuela; Diona Lambiri; Bianca Biagi
  10. City indicators : now to Nanjing By Hoornweg, Daniel; Ruiz Nunez, Fernanda; Freire, Mila; Palugyai, Natalie; Villaveces, Maria; Herrera, Eduardo Wills
  11. Regional Development Dynamics and Decentralization in the Philippines: Ten Lessons from a 'Fast Starter' By Arsenio M. Balisacan; Hal Hill; Sharon Faye A Piza
  12. Understanding Regional Differences in Work Hours By Heisz, Andrew; Larochelle-Côté, Sébastien
  13. Regionalwährungen in Deutschland – Lokale Konkurrenz für den Euro? By Rösl, Gerhard
  14. Rural Organization, Territorial Development and Sustainability Environmental in the Caribbean of Costa Rica: The Case of Tortuguero Conservation Area (in Spanish) By Mora-Alfaro, Jorge; Román-Vega, Isabel
  15. The Effects of Wal-Mart on Local Labor Markets By David Neumark; Junfu Zhang; Stephen Ciccarella
  16. Housing Tenure, Expenditure, and Satisfaction Across Hispanic, African-American, and White Households: Evidence from the American Housing Survey By HUD – PD&R
  17. Second Best Decision Making of Railway Operators: How to fix Fares, Frequency and Vehicle Size By Piet Rietveld; Stefan van Woudenberg

  1. By: Sascha Brinkhoff
    Date: 2007–01–22
  2. By: Elinder, Mikael (Department of Economics)
    Abstract: This paper estimates voters’ response to municipality and regional level unemployment and economic growth, in Swedish general elections from 1985 to 2002, using data on 284 municipalities and 9 regions. An increase in regional growth or a reduction in regional unemployment by one percentage point is associated with an increase in the support for the national government by about 0.8 and 1.1 percentage points. Changes in unemployment and growth at the municipality level seem to have much smaller effects on government support.
    Keywords: elections; voting; local economic conditions
    JEL: H11 R11 R12 R58
    Date: 2006–11–23
  3. By: Mellander, Charlotta (Jönköping International Business School and CESIS); Florida, Richard (School of Public Policy, George Mason University)
    Abstract: Human capital is observed to be an important contributor to growth but unevenly distributed geographically. While there is consensus on the importance of human capital to economic development, debate takes shape around two central issues. First, there is the question of how best to measure human capital. Second, there is debate over the factors that yield the geographic distribution of human capital in the first place. We find that occupational or “creative class” measures tend to outperform educational measures in accounting for regional development across our sample of Swedish regions. We also find that universities, amenities or service diversity and openness and tolerance affect the distribution of human capital. A key finding is also that each of these factors is associated with a different type of human capital and thus they play complimentary roles in the geographic distribution of talent.
    Keywords: Creative occupations; Human Capital; Technology; Economic Development
    JEL: J24 O30 R11 R12 R20
    Date: 2007–01–18
  4. By: K. Bruce Newbold
    Abstract: Using the 2001 Public Use Microdata Files from Statistics Canada, this paper analyses fixed interval return (migrations returning an individual to a previous place of residence) and onward (migrations to a subsequent destination) migration among Canada’s older population (aged 60 and over) over the 1996-2000-2001 period. The article examines the incidence, composition, spatial patterning, and determinants of these chronic migrations. Analysis reveals a migration system that is largely complementary to that observed within the broader population, although onward migration is relatively unimportant for this group, and the motivations and characteristics vary by age group amongst older migrants.
    Keywords: elderly mobility, return and onward migration, Canada
    JEL: J11 O15 R23
    Date: 2007–01
  5. By: Juan Carlos Duque (Regional Analysis Laboratory (REGAL). San Diego State University.); Raul Ramos (Faculty of Economics, University of Barcelona.); Jordi Suriñach (Faculty of Economics, University of Barcelona.)
    Abstract: This paper reviews almost four decades of contributions on the subject of supervised regionalization methods. These methods aggregate a set of areas into a predefined number of spatially contiguous regions while optimizing certain aggregation criteria. The authors present a taxonomic scheme that classifies a wide range of regionalization methods into eight groups, based on the strategy applied for satisfying the spatial contiguity constraint. The paper concludes by providing a qualitative comparison of these groups in terms of a set of certain characteristics, and by suggesting future lines of research for extending and improving these methods.
    Keywords: regionalization, constrained clustering, analytical regions.
    JEL: C21 R12 C61
    Date: 2006–12
  6. By: Henry G. Overman; Diego Puga; Matthew A. Turner
    Abstract: This paper decomposes the growth in land occupied by residences in the United States to give the relative contributions of changing demographics versus increases in the land area used by individual households. Between 1976 and 1992 the amount of residential land in the United States grew 47.5% while population only grew 17.8%. At first glance, this suggests an important role for per household increases. However, the calculations in this paper show that only 24.3% of the growth in residential land area can be attributed to State level changes in land per household. 37.5% is due to overall population growth, 5.9% to the shift of population towards States with larger houses, 22.7% to an increase in the number of households over this period, and the remaining 9.5% to interactions between these changes. There are large differences across states and metropolitan areas in the relative importance of these components.
    Keywords: land use, population growth
    JEL: R14 O51
    Date: 2007–01–22
  7. By: HUD – PD&R
    Abstract: This analysis uses recent metropolitan area samples of the American Housing Survey (AHS) for 1998, 2002, and 2004 to investigate differences in the terms, conditions, and use of mortgage financing alternatives, and how financing and mortgage rates differ for Hispanics as compared to other ethnic groups across a number of different U.S. housing markets. The principal focus of the study is to examine the extent to which differences in the interest rates obtained by homeowners of different race/ethnicity and income levels can be explained by differences in characteristics of the borrowers, the property, and the loan itself.
    JEL: R5
    Date: 2006–02
  8. By: Aronsson, Thomas (Department of Economics, Umeå University); Blomquist, Sören (Department of Economics, Uppsala University); Micheletto, Luca (Istituto di Economia Politica, Università "L. Bocconi")
    Abstract: There is a rich literature analyzing the problems that will arise as the share of elderly and retired in the population increases in the near future. However, the locational decisions among the elderly as well as their implications in terms of taxes/transfers and of allocation of responsibilities for elderly care between the federal and local levels have not received much attention. In this paper we aim at investigating these issues. For this purpose we explore a model where there is a big city and a set of small villages and where congestion effects and agglomeration forces are at work at the level of the big city. We also assume that the population is divided between two groups of agents, productive and retired, which differ with respect to the degree of mobility. In the first part of the paper we study and characterize the inefficiencies that arise because of individuals' free location choice in the context of a unitary government. In the second part of the paper we consider a fiscal federalism structure and we investigate the suitable instruments that are needed in order to decentralize the optimal allocation obtained under full centralization.
    Keywords: Agglomeration effects; congestion; elderly care; fiscal federalism
    JEL: D62 H42 H55 H77 J10
    Date: 2007–01–25
  9. By: Vicente Royuela (Faculty of Economics, University of Barcelona.); Diona Lambiri (Department of Economics CSpREE, School of Business, University of Reading.); Bianca Biagi (Dipartimento di Economia, Impresa e Regolamentazione e CRENoS Università di Sassari.)
    Abstract: Quality of life is increasingly becoming a concept researched empirically and theoretically in the field of economics. In urban economics in particular, this increasing interest stems mainly from the fact that quality of life affects urban competitiveness and urban growth, research shows that when households and businesses decide where to locate, quality of life considerations can play a very important role. The purpose of the present paper is to examine the way economic literature and urban economic literature in particular, have adopted quality of life considerations in the economic thinking. Moreover, it presents the ways various studies have attempted to capture the multidimensional nature of the concept, and quantify it for the purposes of empirical research. Additionally we focus on the state of the art in Spain. Looking at the experiences in the last years we see very important possibilities of developing new studies in the field.
    Keywords: Quality of life, urban economics.
    Date: 2006–12
  10. By: Hoornweg, Daniel; Ruiz Nunez, Fernanda; Freire, Mila; Palugyai, Natalie; Villaveces, Maria; Herrera, Eduardo Wills
    Abstract: This paper provides the key elements to develop an integrated approach for measuring and monitoring city performance globally. The paper reviews the role of cities and why indicators are important. Then it discusses past approaches to city indicators and the systems developed to date, including the World Bank ' s initiatives. After identifying the strengths and weaknesses of past experiences, it discusses the characteristics of optimal indicators. The paper concludes with a proposed plan to develop standardized indicators that emphasize the importance of indicators that are measurable, replicable, potentially predictive, and most important, consistent and comparable over time and across cities. As an innovative characteristic, the paper includes subjective measures in city indicators, such as well-being, happy citizens, and trust.
    Keywords: Cultural Policy,City Development Strategies,Cultural Heritage & Preservation,ICT Policy and Strategies,Housing & Human Habitats
    Date: 2007–01–01
  11. By: Arsenio M. Balisacan; Hal Hill; Sharon Faye A Piza
    Abstract: Spatial disparities, regional dynamics and centre-region relations are the focus of much attention in the developing world, owing to growing analytical and policy interest, concern over deeply entrenched spatial inequality, transitions from economic crises or command economies, and the uneven effects of rapid global integration. Many countries are embarking on major decentralization programs. This paper examines regional dynamics and decentralization with reference to the Philippines, a country well suited to such a study and from which other developing countries can learn lessons. The Philippines initiated a major decentralization program relatively early (1991), and it is one of the most spatially diverse countries in the world. The reforms occurred in the wake of a deep economic crisis, and were accompanied by a major liberalization program.
    Keywords: Asia, The Philippines, decentralization, policy reform, regional development.
    Date: 2006
  12. By: Heisz, Andrew; Larochelle-Côté, Sébastien
    Abstract: In recent years, differences in working hours between Canada and other countries have been the focus of a substantial body of research. Much less attention has been paid to regional differences in work hours, although differences in average annual work hours between some regions are of an order of magnitude that is similar to that of the Canada-U.S. difference. Using data from the 2004 Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics, this study examines how much of differences in working time between Ontario and five other regions of Canada can be explained by 'observable' differences, including differences in union status, industrial structure, job conditions and demographic characteristics. 'Observables' were relatively efficient in explaining differences in the shares of individuals working a short year and working a full-year, full-time schedule. However, they were not very helpful in explaining differences in long work hours, did not entirely explain the larger share of short-year workers in the Atlantic and in British Columbia, and did not explain the huge popularity of the 'low' full-year, full-time schedule in Quebec. These differences that remain unexplained suggest that 'unobservable' factors (those that are difficult to observe in household surveys) also contribute to regional differences in work hours. These include incentives related to wage inequality, possible tax incentives (or disincentives) built upon progressive taxation policies, differences in job conditions, in preferences and tastes, and in the shape of institutions.
    Keywords: Labour, Employment and unemployment, Employment insurance, social assistance and other transfers, Hours of work and work arrangements
    Date: 2007–01–22
  13. By: Rösl, Gerhard
    Abstract: In a surprisingly growing number of regions in Germany private “regional currencies” are issued as a cash substitute for the euro. Currently, these regional currencies are conceived almost exclusively as Schwundgeld (depreciative currency), which loses value on a predetermined timescale. This loss of value is intended to encourage the money owners to spend their money quickly in order to boost local demand. The paper shows that the issuance of unofficial parallel currencies is not a fundamentally new phenomenon neither in Germany nor in other European countries. The theoretical assumptions of the Schwundgeld concept (Silvio Gesell (1862 – 1930)) are highly flawed and suboptimal from a welfare-theoretical perspective. However, the current economic welfare losses resulting from the issuance of Schwundgeld are negligibly small.
    Keywords: Regionalwährungen, Regionalgeld, Parallelgeld, Gesell, Währungssubstitution, Schwundgeld, Freigeld, currency substitution, private money
    JEL: E40 E41 E42 E50
    Date: 2006
  14. By: Mora-Alfaro, Jorge; Román-Vega, Isabel
    Abstract: The rural areas of Costa Rica suffered significant transformations as a consequence of two phenomenon: In one hand, the long tendency to economical, political and cultural global integration living by the most diverse nations in the contemporary time. In the other hand, the reorientation of the growth economy model and the institutional reform introduced since the 80 decade in this country. In this document are presented the main discoveries obtained with the evaluating study about the impact of these economic and political changes in Tortuguero Conservation Area (ACTo), focused in the rural organizations development. The main tendencies follow up by the productive, environmental, institutional and social processes, occurred in this rural territory, allow to perceive the context conditions in which the local rural organizations development happened and the opportunities and challenges that they confront in the present time.
    Keywords: Rural development; territorial approach; sustainability; agriculture and environment; conservation areas; institutional change
    JEL: Q52 Q58 Q56
    Date: 2006
  15. By: David Neumark (Department of Economics, University of California-Irvine); Junfu Zhang (Department of Economics, Clark University); Stephen Ciccarella (Department of Economics, Cornell University)
    Abstract: We estimate the effects of Wal-Mart stores on county-level retail employment and earnings, accounting for endogeneity of the location and timing of Wal-Mart openings that most likely biases the evidence against finding adverse effects of Wal-Mart stores. We address the endogeneity problem using a natural instrumental variables approach that arises from the geographic and time pattern of the opening of Wal-Mart stores, which slowly spread out from the first stores in Arkansas. The employment results indicate that a Wal-Mart store opening reduces county-level retail employment by about 150 workers, implying that each Wal-Mart worker replaces approximately 1.4 retail workers. This represents a 2.7 percent reduction in average retail employment. The payroll results indicate that Wal-Mart store openings lead to declines in county-level retail earnings of about $1.2 million, or 1.3 percent. Of course, these effects occurred against a backdrop of rising retail employment, and only imply lower retail employment growth than would have occurred absent the effects of Wal-Mart.
    Keywords: Wal-Mart; Employment
    JEL: R12 J21
    Date: 2006–12
  16. By: HUD – PD&R
    Abstract: A number of interesting differences in housing circumstances between Hispanic, African-American, and white households are revealed as a result of this analysis. The analysis presented in this report has two primary components. In the first part of the study, the likelihood of ownership, levels of house prices (for owners) and contract rent (for renters) were considered across race/ethnicity for both the full sample and the subset of recent movers. The second part of the analysis focuses on differences in ordinal rankings (on a scale of 1 to 10) of structural and neighborhood quality between Hispanics, African-American, and white households.
    JEL: R5
    Date: 2006–02
  17. By: Piet Rietveld (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam); Stefan van Woudenberg (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)
    Abstract: Railway networks are characterised by variations in demand on different links. Optimal strategies therefore call for a differentiated treatment of fares, frequencies and vehicle sizes in various links. However, for several reasons, railway operators may apply uniform levels for these decision variables. In this paper we investigate the welfare losses implied by uniform setting of fares per km, frequencies or vehicle sizes. This is done within the context of a model with uniform cost structures, uniform price elasticities, uniform demand levels across the day, but with demand levels that vary across segments of the network. We demonstrate that the largest welfare loss results when frequencies are made uniform across links. Welfare losses due to making vehicle size and price per km uniform across links are smaller. We further find that when capacity, represented by frequency and vehicle size, is set at its optimal level at the various network segments, the contribution of price differentiation to social welfare is very limited. These results suggest that where differentiated prices are important to address issues like congestion and directional asymmetries in demand, differentiated supply in terms of vehicle size and in particular frequences are the preferred way of addressing demand variations on different segments in a network.
    Keywords: Railways; fares; second best; frequency; vehicle size; demand variations
    JEL: R4
    Date: 2007–01–15

This nep-geo issue is ©2007 by Vassilis Monastiriotis. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.