nep-geo New Economics Papers
on Economic Geography
Issue of 2019‒09‒09
eight papers chosen by
Andreas Koch
Institut für Angewandte Wirtschaftsforschung

  1. Natural amenities and the spatial distribution of Swiss income By Joséphine Leuba
  2. Regional lobbying and structural funds: do regional representation offices in Brussels deliver? By Rodríguez-Pose, Andrés; Courty, Julie
  3. Spatial Dependence, Social Networks, and Economic Structures in Regional Labor Migration By Murayama, Koji; Nagayasu, Jun
  4. Does Light Touch Cluster Policy Work? Evaluating the Tech City Programme By Max Nathan
  5. Pandemics, Places, and Populations: Evidence from the Black Death By Remi Jedwab; Noel D. Johnson; Mark Koyama
  6. Pirate Attacks and the Shape of the Italian Urban System By Antonio Accetturo; Michele Cascarano; Guido de Blasio
  7. The Impact of Socioeconomic and Cultural Differences on Online Trade By Daniel W. Elfenbein; Raymond Fisman; Brian McManus
  8. Factors determining enterprise location choice in Russia By Natalia Davidson; Oleg Mariev

  1. By: Joséphine Leuba
    Abstract: The present article describes how the spatial distribution of income in Switzerland is related to natural amenities. We explore the link between inequalities in Swiss municipalities and the presence of lakes, rivers, mountains, good accessibility and green amenities. By using fiscal data on average income, Gini index and density of taxpayers in different income brackets, we confirm that a larger variety of landscape is associated with larger spatial income differentials. We also show that inequalities are more pronounced within municipalities located in a particularly nice environment.
    Keywords: Spatial income distribution, natural amenities, income sorting, inequality
    JEL: D30 J31 J61 R12 R23
    Date: 2019–08
  2. By: Rodríguez-Pose, Andrés; Courty, Julie
    Abstract: In recent years regional representation offices have proliferated in Brussels. Among the many aims of these offices are influencing the allocation and securing the transfer of European Structural and Cohesion funds to their respective regions. However, our knowledge about whether they have succeeded in this goal is limited. In this paper we assess the extent to which regional offices in Brussels have managed to affect the territorial commitment and payment of Structural and Cohesion funds for regional development beyond the main officially stated economic criteria of eligibility. The paper uses a custom-made survey of regional offices in Brussels, complemented by economic, institutional, and political data involving factors that should determine how much money is channelled to and disbursed in each region. The results of the Fixed Effects and Instrumental Variable analyses for a total of 123 regions over the period 2009-2013 highlight that the capacity – proxied by the budget and staff of the office – of the regional representation offices to influence the commitment and payment of Structural and Cohesion funds has been negligible, when not outright negative. Regional lobbying in Brussels does not lead to more funds or to an easier disbursement of regional development funds.
    Keywords: regional representation; regional offices; lobbying; European regional development policy; structural funds; EU
    JEL: D72 R51 R58
    Date: 2018–02–28
  3. By: Murayama, Koji; Nagayasu, Jun
    Abstract: This study empirically analyzes the determinants of regional labor migration in Japan, where small towns are disappearing due to the shortage of labor. Using spatial models of origin-destination flows and considering network effects of labor and economic structures, we obtain results more consistent with the standard migration theory than previous studies. First, unlike previous studies, we find that migration decisions in Japan are based on economic motivations consistent with economic theories. Particularly, unemployment rates in origins and destinations and income in origins are found to be the determinants of labor migration. Second, we report that network effects, which help reduce migration costs, have encouraged relocation of labor. Third, considering spatial weights based on distance, goods flow, and economic structures, we show that neighbors can be most appropriately defined with economic structures; migration patterns are alike in regions with similar economic structures.
    Keywords: labor migration; spatial models; regional economy; economic structures; network effects
    JEL: J61 R23
    Date: 2019–08
  4. By: Max Nathan
    Abstract: Despite academic scepticism, cluster policies remain popular with policymakers. This paper evaluates the causal impact of a flagship UK technology cluster programme. I build a simple framework and identify effects using difference-in-differences and synthetic controls on rich microdata. I further test for timing, cross-space variation, scaling and churn channels. The policy grew and densified the cluster, but has had more mixed effects on tech firm productivity. I also find most policy 'effects' began before rollout, raising questions about the programme's added value.
    Keywords: cities, clusters, technology, economic development, synthetic controls
    JEL: L53 L86 O31 R30 R50
    Date: 2019–08
  5. By: Remi Jedwab (George Washington University); Noel D. Johnson (George Mason University); Mark Koyama (George Mason University)
    Abstract: The Black Death killed 40% of Europe’s population between 1347-1352, making it one of the largest shocks in the history of mankind. Despite its historical importance, little is known about its spatial effects and the effects of pandemics more generally. Using a novel dataset that provides information on spatial variation in Plague mortality at the city level, as well as various identification strategies, we explore the short-run and long-run impacts of the Black Death on city growth. On average, cities recovered their pre-Plague populations within two centuries. In addition, aggregate convergence masked heterogeneity in urban recovery. We show that both of these facts are consistent with a Malthusian model in which population returns to high-mortality locations endowed with more rural and urban fixed factors of production. Land suitability and natural and historical trade networks played a vital role in urban recovery. Our study highlights the role played by pandemics in determining both the sizes and placements of populations.Creation-Date: 2019-03
    Keywords: Pandemics; Black Death; Mortality; Path Dependence; Cities; Urbanization; Malthusian Theory; Migration; Growth; Europe
    JEL: R11 R12 O11 O47 J11 N00 N13
  6. By: Antonio Accetturo; Michele Cascarano; Guido de Blasio
    Abstract: rom the sixteenth to the early nineteenth century, coastal areas of Italy (especially, in the south-west) were subject to attacks by pirates launched from the shores of Northern Africa. This paper documents that, in order to protect themselves, residents of coastal locations moved inland to mountainous and rugged areas. It also shows that such relocation constrained local economic development for a long period after the piracy threat had subsided. By hampering the growth of major urban centers, the attacks may have also had aggregate consequences on Italy’s post-WWII development.
    Keywords: City size distribution, Historical shocks, Local development, Aggregate effects
    JEL: R1 N9 O1
    Date: 2019
  7. By: Daniel W. Elfenbein; Raymond Fisman; Brian McManus
    Abstract: We use U.S. eBay data to investigate how trade is influenced by differences in socioeconomic characteristics, tastes, and trust. States’ similarity in cultural characteristics (ethnicity, religious affiliations, and political behavior) is predictive of online trade; cultural similarity similarly predicts trade between finer (three-digit zip code) geographies. The culture-trade relationship is mediated in part by consumers’ tastes, and is stronger for transactions with sellers who lack extensive reputations or certification, suggesting that consumers infer seller trustworthiness from cultural similarity. There is no correlation between cultural similarity and buyer satisfaction, consistent with perceived differences in trustworthiness not being validated by actual transactions.
    JEL: D12 D91 F14 L15 R12
    Date: 2019–08
  8. By: Natalia Davidson (Graduate School of Economics and Management, Ural Federal University); Oleg Mariev (Graduate School of Economics and Management, Ural Federal University)
    Abstract: This paper studies determinants of enterprise location decisions in Russia, such as agglomeration levels, home market potential, transport infrastructure and institutional environment. Results confirm that agglomeration levels and home market potential affect foreign firms? location choice and probability that national firms will work in a city. Urbanization economies and home market potential positively affect location choice; localization economies have an inverted U shape. Estimation shows that foreign enterprises are interested in large demand. Under assumption that there are more innovations in diversified cities and cities with favourable business climate, strategic asset seeking might be present. The study confirms negative impact of regional business environment risks on foreign firms? location choice. Results will be useful for regional policy aimed at business development and attracting foreign direct investment.
    Keywords: enterprise location choice, cities, agglomeration economies, home market potential, business environment, foreign direct investment, Russia
    JEL: O12 R12 F21
    Date: 2019–07

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