nep-geo New Economics Papers
on Economic Geography
Issue of 2008‒08‒06
nine papers chosen by
Vassilis Monastiriotis
London School of Economics

  1. Regional Price Differences in Urban China 1986-2001: Estimation and Implication By Gong, Cathy Honge; Meng, Xin
  2. Geographical Distribution of Crime in Italian Provinces: A Spatial Econometric Analysis By Teodora Erika Uberti; Maria Francesca Cracolici
  3. The IDE geographical simulation model : predicting long-term effects of infrastructure development projects By Kumagai, Satoru; Gokan, Toshitaka; Isono, Ikumo; Souknilanh, Keola
  4. Effects of Tourism Upon the Economy of Small and Medium-Sized European Cities. Cultural Tourists and “The Others” By Elena Bellini; Barbara Del Corpo; Ugo Gasparino; William Malizia
  5. Land use, congestion and urban management By Alberto Majocchi; Andrea Zatti
  6. Analysing Regional Sustainability Through a Systemic Approach: The Lombardy Case Study By Pietro Caratti; Ludovico Ferraguto
  7. Redeveloping Derelict and Underused Historic City Areas: Evidence from a Survey of Real Estate Developers By Paolo Rosato; Anna Alberini; Valentina Zanatta; Margaretha Breil
  8. Zipf’s and Gibrat’s laws for migrations By Clemente, Jesús; González-Val, Rafael; Olloqui, Irene
  9. Spatial effects of open borders on the Czech labour market By Moritz, Michael

  1. By: Gong, Cathy Honge (Australian National University); Meng, Xin (Australian National University)
    Abstract: Despite the intensive efforts made by economists to examine regional income inequality in China, limited attention has been paid to disentangle the contribution of regional price differentials. This paper examines regional price differential in urban China over the period 1986 to 2001. Spatial Price Index (SPI) is normally calculated using the Basket Cost Method, which defines a national basket and measures price variation of this common basket across different regions. The weakness of this method is that it arbitrarily assumes consumers’ preferences and has a strong reliance on good regional level price data, which are often not available. This paper adopts the Engel’s curve approach to estimate a Spatial Price Index for different provinces. The SPI obtained from the Engel’s curve approach indicates larger regional price variations than those obtained from the Basket Cost method. Further, regional price variations in urban China increased significantly during the late 1980s to early 1990s, stabilized at a relatively high level during the mid to end 1990s. Adjusting for the regional price variations our finding suggests that regional income inequality increased the most between the late 1980s and early 1990s, and stabilized in the mid 1990s, which contradicts previous findings using unadjusted income.
    Keywords: spatial price index, Engel’s curve, income inequality, China
    JEL: C43 E31 P36 D12
    Date: 2008–07
  2. By: Teodora Erika Uberti (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore); Maria Francesca Cracolici (Catholic University of Milano)
    Abstract: For a long time social sciences scholars from different fields have devoted their attention to identifying the causes leading to commit criminal offences and recently lots of studies have included the analysis of spatial effects. Respect to the Italian crime phenomenon some stylized facts exist: high spatial and time variability and presence of “organised crime” (e.g. Mafia and Camorra) deep-seated in some local territorial areas. Using explanatory spatial data analysis, the paper firstly explores the spatial structure and distribution of four different typologies of crimes (murders, thefts, frauds, and squeezes) in Italian provinces in two years, 1999 and 2003. ESDA allows us to detect some important geographical dimensions and to distinguish crucial macro- and micro- territorial aspects of offences. Further, on the basis of Becker-Ehrlich model, a spatial cross-sectional model including deterrence, economic and socio-demographic variables has been performed to investigate the determinants of Italian crime for 1999 and 2003 and its “neighbouring” effects, measured in terms of geographical and relational proximity. The empirical results obtained by using different spatial weights matrices highlighted that socioeconomic variables have a relevant impact on crime activities, but their role changes enormously respect to crimes against person (murders) or against property (thefts, frauds and squeezes). It is worthy to notice that severity does not show the expected sign: its significant and positive sign should suggest that inflicting more severe punishments does not always constitute a deterrence to commit crime, but it works on the opposite direction.
    Keywords: Crime, Spatial Econometrics
    JEL: C21 K42
    Date: 2008–02
  3. By: Kumagai, Satoru; Gokan, Toshitaka; Isono, Ikumo; Souknilanh, Keola
    Abstract: It is important to be able to predict changes in the location of populations and industries in regions that are in the process of economic integration. The IDE Geographical Simulation Model (IDE-GSM) has been developed with two major objectives: (1) to determine the dynamics of locations of populations and industries in East Asia in the long-term, and (2) to analyze the impact of specific infrastructure projects on the regional economy at sub-national levels. The basic structure of the IDE-GSM is introduced in this article and accompanied with results of test analyses on the effects of the East West Economic Corridor on regions in Continental South East Asia. Results indicate that border costs appear to play a big role in the location choice of populations and industries, often a more important role than physical infrastructures themselves.
    Keywords: Southeast Asia, East Asia, Economic geography, International economic integration, Geographical Simulation Model, Spatial economics
    JEL: D59 F29 O53 R49
    Date: 2008–06
  4. By: Elena Bellini (Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei); Barbara Del Corpo (Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei); Ugo Gasparino (Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei); William Malizia (Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei)
    Abstract: The paper presents the results of the application of an Input-Output-based approach for the estimation of direct, indirect and induced effects of tourist spending on local economies, in a static partial equilibrium setting. The methodology has been successfully applied in three case studies – Bergen (Norway), Elche (Spain), Syracuse (Italy) –, in the framework of the 6th FP project PICTURE (Pro-active management of the Impact of Cultural Tourism upon Urban Resources and Economies), in order to quantify the monetary impact of cultural tourism upon urban economies. The analysis was carried out in two major steps: firstly, interviews to tourists in each case study city, in order to estimate the scale and variability of the spending patterns of different profiles of visitors (e.g., culture-driven vs. leisure tourists); secondly, application of the Input-Output model of the economy of concern (eventually re-scaling the matrix at the Region or County level) to quantify the effects of tourist expenditure on sales, income and employment for the several impacted economic sectors. Tourists driven by cultural interest are often assumed, in literature, to have a higher than average income and to spend more on holiday. The paper reports the main findings of the analysis, discussing them against the “cultural tourist” stereotype. The analysis aims at assisting local decision makers in identifying the value of different tourist typologies to their region, in understanding how different sectors of local economy and society can benefit from tourism and in determining how to maximise, or more equally redistribute, the positive impact.
    Keywords: Tourism, Cultural Tourism, Economic Impacts, Input-Output Analysis
    JEL: C67 R15 L83 D12
    Date: 2008–05
  5. By: Alberto Majocchi (ISAE - Institute for Studies and Economic Analyses and University of Pavia); Andrea Zatti (ISAE - University of Pavia)
    Abstract: In this paper we discuss the role that different instruments of pricing policy could play in promoting an efficient use of land, that is becoming a more and more scarce good through time. The main area where pricing instruments should be employed is the transport sector, particularly in urban areas. A growing experience has been accumulated during the last years and pricing for the use of roads, either through parking fees or through electronic road pricing, has been experimented in many countries with results that seem encouraging. One important conclusion that emerges from our analysis is that, notwithstanding these positive results, pricing policy for the use of roads is a necessary condition for getting efficient results, but by itself is not sufficient. Equally important is the need to integrate pricing mechanisms within land use planning, but both theory and practice are lacking on a wide range of issues related to the land use impacts of road pricing.
    Keywords: Traffic, congestion, management in Italian urban areas
    JEL: R41 R52 H23
    Date: 2008–07
  6. By: Pietro Caratti (Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei); Ludovico Ferraguto (I-COM, Istituto per la Competitività)
    Abstract: The intrinsic complexity of the sustainability concept challenges research towards more sophisticated ways to model and assess the dimensions underlying it. However, currently adopted modelling techniques and indicators frameworks are not able to give an integrated assessment through the different components of sustainability, providing incomplete visuals of the reality that they aim to catch. This paper tries to assess how the INSURE methodology can provide a contribution in the analysis of sustainability through indicator frameworks, describing its application to the Lombardy region (Italy). Developed on the course of a 6th European Framework Program – financed project to measure sustainability in the European regions, the methodology provides two distinct sustainability representations, based on a quantitative “top-down” System Dynamics model and on a qualitative “bottom-up” System Thinking approach. The models are then linked to a hierarchical indicator framework setting policy priorities. The overall objective is thus to create a set of regional indicators, adapting the models of regional sustainability to different policy agendas. The purpose of the paper is twofold: defining a new approach to sustainability appraisal, and assessing how the Region is holistically behaving towards sustainable development. Starting from a basis analysis of the main shortcomings highlighted by the use of most adopted methodologies, the paper will verify the contribution given by the INSURE methodology to research in the fields of modelling and indicators approaches, providing insights over methodological adjustments and the results obtained from the application to Lombardy. The conclusions will show how the methodology has tried to overcome identified constraints in current models, like the strong dependence on existing datasets of the obtained representations, the under-coverage of “immaterial factors” role and the scarce integration between sustainability dimensions.
    Keywords: ustainable Development, Regional Economics, Econometric and Input Output Models, Development Planning and Policy, Regional Analyses
    JEL: Q01 R R15 O2 O18
    Date: 2008–05
  7. By: Paolo Rosato (Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei); Anna Alberini (Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei); Valentina Zanatta (Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei); Margaretha Breil (Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei)
    Abstract: Infill redevelopment—the transformation of previously used urban sites—is generally regarded as an important way to attain environmental and urban sustainability goals. At many locales, however, such urban renewal, community development, and tax revenue goals must be reconciled with historic preservation objectives. Are economic incentives and regulatory relief useful tools for encouraging reuse of abandoned or underutilized urban sites with historic buildings? Answering this question is of key importance for many European cities and for older US cities, and has important implications in terms of urban sustainability and “smart growth” initiatives. We use conjoint choice experiments to explore the relative importance of economic incentives, regulatory relief, land use and property regime offerings at underutilized historical sites in Venice, Italy. We survey real estate developers and investors, and ask them to choose between pairs of hypothetical projects in three Venice locations, as well as between one of these projects and the alternative to do a development project elsewhere. Statistical models of the responses to these choice questions indicate that respondents are sensitive to the price of acquiring the land (and hence to any policies that influence prices), and especially sensitive to the property regime that would be granted to developers and investors and to the allowable land use. Contrary to expectations, our respondents were insensitive to tightening or relaxing the stringency of building conservation restrictions. Our findings sound a common theme with Howland (2004), who warns that redevelopment of previously used sites in Baltimore is impaired by obsolete land uses, zoning and infrastructure (but not by suspected or actual contamination). We conclude that the City should focus on offering land uses and property regimes that are more in tune with developer demand.
    Keywords: Conjoint Choice Experiments, Real Estate Developers, Building Conservation Restrictions, Redevelopment Incentives, Brownfields, Infill Redevelopment
    JEL: Z1 R52
    Date: 2008–07
  8. By: Clemente, Jesús; González-Val, Rafael; Olloqui, Irene
    Abstract: This paper analyses the evolution of the size distribution of the stock of emigrants in the period 1960-2000. Has the distribution of the stock of emigrants changed or has there been some convergence? This is the question discussed in this work. In particular, we are interested in testing the fulfillment of two empirical regularities studied in urban economics: Zipf’s law, which postulates that the product between the rank and size of a population is constant; and Gibrat’s law, witch states that growth rate of a variable is independent of its initial size. We use parametric and non-parametric methods and apply them to absolute (stock of emigrants) and relative (migration density, defined as the quotient between the stock of emigrants of a country and its total population)measurements.
    Keywords: Migration distribution; Zipf´s law; Gibrat´s law
    JEL: J61 R12 R11
    Date: 2008–07–12
  9. By: Moritz, Michael (Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany])
    Abstract: "Hardly noticed in Western Europe the fall of the Iron Curtain had also effects on the regional structures of the labour markets in the Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC). I analyse whether during the undoubtedly increasing integration of markets the Czech border region close to the Western European high-wage countries benefited from its geographical position. Even without transnational free labour mobility, free trade and outsourcing of production activities can lead to shifts in the labour demand and wage structure with respect to different skill groups. These integration effects should be stronger in border regions. Using data from the Czech Microcensus and quarterly district level data, I investigate the impact of the fall of the Iron Curtain on the regional differences in unemployment, the skill structure of employment and wages in the Czech Republic. According to my results there are no indications of disproportionate shifts in the economic structure as well as in the skill structure in the Czech districts neighbouring Bavaria and Austria compared to non-border districts. However, regarding wage differentials between workers employed in the border region and workers in the rest of the country, I find evidence that between 1996 and 2002 the border region workers of the lowest skill category exhibit a positive wage differential of around 12% compared to their counterparts in non-border districts. For all other skill groups in the border region the spatial wage gap is negative and, in absolute value, increases with the skill level." (author's abstract, IAB-Doku) ((en))
    Date: 2008–07–31

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