nep-geo New Economics Papers
on Economic Geography
Issue of 2011‒05‒07
ten papers chosen by
Vassilis Monastiriotis
London School of Economics

  1. LABOR MOBILITY AND SPATIAL DENSITY By Andersson, Martin; Thulin, Per
  2. In search of the ‘economic dividend’ of devolution: spatial disparities, spatial economic policy and decentralisation in the UK By Pike, Andy; Rodríguez-Pose, Andrés; Torrisi, Giampiero; Tselios, Vassilis; Tomaney, John
  3. Increasing Returns in Transportation and the Formation of Hubs By Tomoya Mori
  4. REGIONAL POLICY AS CHANGE MANAGEMENT - a theoretical discussion with empirical illustrations By Andersson, Martin; Johansson, Börje
  5. Employment in Black Urban Labor Markets: Problems and Solutions By Judith K. Hellerstein; David Neumark
  6. Economics of Sourcing Cellulosic Feedstock for Energy Production By Gustafson, Cole; Maung, Thein; Saxowsky, David; Nowatzki, John; Miljkovic, Tatjana
  7. China's Rising Demand for "Green Cities": Evidence from Cross-City Real Estate Price Hedonics By Siqi Zheng; Jing Cao; Matthew E. Kahn
  8. What lies beneath the internationalization of firms in a regional innovation system? By Silvia R. Sedita; Fiorenza Belussi; Gianluca Fiscato
  9. Patterns of industrial specialisation in post-Unification Italy By Ciccarelli, Carlo; Proietti, Tommaso
  10. Spatial Dimensions of US Crop Selection: Recent Responses to Markets and Policy By Motamed, Mesbah; McPhail, Lihong

  1. By: Andersson, Martin (CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies, Royal Institute of Technology); Thulin, Per (CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies, Royal Institute of Technology)
    Abstract: This paper focuses on a much cited but seldom measured micro-foundation for agglomerations: inter-firm labor mobility. Labor mobility has been advanced as a vehicle for knowledge flows and labor market efficiency, and is often maintained to be an important source of agglomeration economies. Based on matched employer-employee data, we estimate the influence that spatial employment density has on the probability of inter-firm job-switching, while controlling for ample attributes of each worker and employer. The rate of inter-firm labor mobility varies substantially across regions and we document a systematic and robust positive influence of density on the probability of job switching. The likelihood that such switching is intra-regional is significantly higher if the employees operate in denser regions, verifying that labor mobility (and thus the effects mediated by it) is indeed localized. Higher rates of inter-firm labor mobility appear as a likely mechanism behind the empirically verified productivity advantage of dense regions.
    Keywords: job-switching; inter-firm labor mobility; agglomeration economies; external economies; micro-foundations; density
    JEL: J61 J62 R11 R12
    Date: 2011–04–26
  2. By: Pike, Andy (SERC, Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies (CURDS), Newcastle University); Rodríguez-Pose, Andrés (SERC, Department of Geography and Environment, London School of Economics and IMDEA Social Sciences Institute); Torrisi, Giampiero (SERC, Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies (CURDS), Newcastle University); Tselios, Vassilis (SERC, Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies (CURDS), Newcastle University); Tomaney, John (SERC, Department of Geography and Environment, London School of Economics and IMDEA Social Sciences Institute)
    Abstract: After a decade of devolution and amid uncertainties about its effects, it is timely to assess and reflect upon the evidence and enduring meaning of any ‘economic dividend’ of devolution in the UK. Taking a multi-disciplinary approach utilising institutionalist and quantitative methods, this paper seeks to discern the nature and extent of any ‘economic dividend’ through a conceptual and empirical analysis of the relationships between spatial disparities, spatial economic policy and decentralisation. Situating the UK experience within the historical context of its evolving geographical political economy, we find: i) a varied and uneven nature of the relationships between regional disparities, spatial economic policy and decentralisation that change direction during specific time periods; ii) the role of national economic growth is pivotal in explaining spatial disparities and the nature and extent of their relationship with the particular forms of spatial economic policy and decentralisation deployed; and, iii) there is limited evidence that any ‘economic dividend’ of devolution has emerged but this remains difficult to discern because its likely effects are over-ridden by the role of national economic growth in decisively shaping the pattern of spatial disparities and in determining the scope and effects of spatial economic policy and decentralisation.
    Keywords: Economic dividend; devolution; spatial disparities; spatial economic policy; decentralisation; UK.
    JEL: D53 R51
    Date: 2011–04–28
  3. By: Tomoya Mori (Institute of Economic Research, Kyoto University)
    Abstract: The spatial structure of transport network is subject to increasing returns in transportation, distance and density economies. Transport costs between locations are thus in general endogenous, and are determined by the interaction between the spatial distribution of transport demand and these increasing returns, although such interdependence has long been ignored in regional models. By using a simple model, the present paper explains the formation of transport hubs endogenously, and shows how the balance of these two types of increasing returns influences the spatial distribution of transport hubs.
    Keywords: Formation of a transport hub, Distance economies of transportation, Density economies of transportation
    JEL: R12 R49
    Date: 2011–04
  4. By: Andersson, Martin (CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies, Royal Institute of Technology); Johansson, Börje (CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies, Royal Institute of Technology)
    Abstract: The paper focuses on challenges and potentials for policy in the presence of fundamental change processes that influence the long-term evolution of regions. The perspective in the paper implies that policy can be viewed as ‘management of change’. We present a conceptual model for understanding the nature of fundamental change processes, which emphasizes slowly changing regional characteristics and invariant self-organized response mechanisms. It is supported by empirical examples of the invariant character of regional development and innovation phenomena, such as long-term population growth, export dynamics and persistence in new firm formation across regions in Sweden. The examples are put in perspective by studying the behavior of dynamic systems. A discussion of how policy may support new trajectories are provided.
    Keywords: business renewal; innovation; regional policy; persistence; change-processes; dynamic systems; path-dependence
    JEL: O31 R11 R12 R58
    Date: 2011–04–26
  5. By: Judith K. Hellerstein; David Neumark
    Abstract: Blacks in the United States are poorer than whites and have much lower employment rates. “Place-based” policies seek to improve the labor markets in which blacks – especially low-income urban blacks – tend to reside. We first review the literature on spatial mismatch, which provides much of the basis for place-based policies. New evidence demonstrates an important racial dimension to spatial mismatch, and this “racial mismatch” suggests that simply creating more jobs where blacks live, or moving blacks to where jobs are located, is unlikely to make a major dent in black employment problems. We also discuss new evidence of labor market networks that are to some extent stratified by race, which may help explain racial mismatch. We then turn to evidence on place-based policies. Many of these, such as enterprise zones and Moving to Opportunity (MTO), are largely ineffective in increasing employment, likely because spatial mismatch is not the core problem facing urban blacks, and because, in the case of MTO, the role of labor market networks was weakened. Finally, we discuss policies focused on place that also target incentives and other expenditures on the residents of the targeted locations, which may do more to take advantage of labor market networks.
    JEL: J15 J18 J7
    Date: 2011–04
  6. By: Gustafson, Cole; Maung, Thein; Saxowsky, David; Nowatzki, John; Miljkovic, Tatjana
    Abstract: This study investigates the economics of supplying wheat straw and corn stover within 100 mile radius of a potential new biorefinery in southeast North Dakota. In particular, straw and stover total delivery costs, potential straw and stover supply sites and least cost transportation routes are identified using a linear programming transport model and a GIS (Geographic Information Systems) mapping system. We show that USDA/NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service) future crop residue removal rate policies will be important for determining whether it is economically viable to harvest crop residues as potential feedstock for energy generation. Increase in residue removal rates narrow the size of residue supply areas and consequently result in lowering total transportation costs. There is an economic tradeoff between residue collection density and distance from the biorefinery. Most wheat residues are highly concentrated in the north, some distance from the biorefinery. Relying solely on wheat straw for supply needs require longer transportation distances which increases total cost. Using a combination of wheat and corn residues lowers total transportation costs. Since most wheat/corn residues are densely concentrated in north/south, regional highways would likely be the routes used often to transport the residues, as compared to interstate highways. Increased traffic volumes due to the hauling of crop residues would require additional investment in improving road conditions.
    Keywords: Wheat Straw, Corn Stover, Density, Transportation Cost, GIS, Community/Rural/Urban Development, Crop Production/Industries,
    Date: 2011–07–24
  7. By: Siqi Zheng; Jing Cao; Matthew E. Kahn
    Abstract: With the decline of the traditional hukou system, migrants in China have a broad set of cities to choose from. Within an open system of cities, compensating differentials theory predicts that local real estate prices will reflect the marginal valuation of non-market local public goods. More polluted cities will feature lower real estate prices. But, local pollution may be caused by booming local industries. To address such endogeneity concerns, we estimate hedonic regressions using an instrumental variable strategy based on “imports” of pollution from nearby sources. By documenting the importance of spatial emissions patterns, our study highlights how real estate prices in one city are affected by Pigouvian externalities originating in another location. On average, a 10% decrease in imported neighbor pollution is associated with a 1.8% increase in local home prices.
    JEL: Q53 R31
    Date: 2011–04
  8. By: Silvia R. Sedita (University of Padova); Fiorenza Belussi (University of Padova); Gianluca Fiscato (University of Milano)
    Abstract: The aim of the paper is to identify the internationalization models of SME industrial district firms within a very integrated and dynamic Regional Innovation System (RIS) of Italy. By doing so, we investigate which are the strategies of firms embedded in a RIS to access global suppliers and markets. Accordingly, this paper explores the role of SMEs firmsÕ dynamic capabilities, its linkage with the industry investments in ICT (information and communication technologies) and the impact of the utilization of regional knowledge intensive business services (KIBS) in shaping the degree of internationalization of local firms. The analysis is based on a survey addressed during 2004 to entrepreneurs or managers of a sample of 125 SMEs firms operating in 7 industrial districts (biomedical, ceramics, shipbuilding, footwear, textile, plastics and packaging) of the Emilia Romagna. The results coming from a structural equation model revealed factors that impact on firmsÕ degree of internationalization in the input (relocalisation of foreign purchases through global value chains) and in the output dimension (export sales). Some interesting insights on what lies beneath the internationalization of firms in a very dynamic regional innovation system like that one of Emilia Romagna are provided.
    Keywords: industrial districts, dynamic capabilities, ICT (information and communication technologies), internationalization; regional innovation systems.
    JEL: F23 O32 R58
    Date: 2011–04
  9. By: Ciccarelli, Carlo; Proietti, Tommaso
    Abstract: This paper investigates the patterns of sectoral specialisation in Italian provinces over half a century following the Unification of the country. To this end we propose a multivariate graphical technique named dynamic specialisation biplots. In 1871 specialisation vocations toward the different manufacturing sectors were limited in size and no clear geographical path emerged. A regional specialisation divide resulted clearly in 1911. In 1871 as in 1911 the foodstuffs, the textile, and the engineering sectors represented the three pillars delimiting the arena of the specialisation race. Within that arena, sharp changes in the directions of specialisation trajectories characterise a group of selected Northern provinces, largely attracted by the textile sector from the 1880s and from the engineering sector in the pre-War decade. Within region homogeneity and smooth specialisation trajectories are instead representative of most of the remaining provinces. Among them, Southern provinces exhibit specialisation paths revealing that little more than a composition effect occurred among manufacturing sectors.
    Keywords: manufacturing industry; specilisation; post-Unification Italy
    JEL: N63 N93 L60
    Date: 2011–04–21
  10. By: Motamed, Mesbah; McPhail, Lihong
    Abstract: We explicitly measure corn acreage response to the biofuels boom from 2006 to 2010. Specifically, we use newly available micro-scale planting data over time to test whether corn cultivation intensifies in proportion to the proximity of ethanol processors. We control for the endogeneity of plant location to corn acreage by using transportation network data for instruments. Our results show that reducing the distance between a farm and an ethanol plant by one percent increases acreage in corn by 0.64% and reveal a price elasticity of supply of 0.47%. To our knowledge, this is the first study that measures changes in location and intensity of corn planting in response to incentives posed by the recent biofuels boom. The results can serve as a springboard for researchers and policy-makers concerned with crop diversity, environmental sustainability, and greenhouse gas emissions.
    Keywords: corn acreage, ethanol, panel data analysis, instrumental variables, Agricultural and Food Policy, Crop Production/Industries, Land Economics/Use, Q1, Q28, C33,
    Date: 2011

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