nep-geo New Economics Papers
on Economic Geography
Issue of 2023‒05‒15
nine papers chosen by
Andreas Koch
Institut für Angewandte Wirtschaftsforschung

  1. The role of localised, recombinant and exogenous technological change in European regions By Mario A. Maggioni; Emanuela Marrocu; Teodora Erika Uberti; Stefano Usai
  2. Proactive regional policy: What a new policy to avoid socio-economic disruptions could look like By Jens Suedekum
  3. Local and national concentration trends in jobs and sales: The role of structural transformation By David Autor; Christina Patterson; John Van Reenen
  4. The Geography of Job Tasks By Enghin Atalay; Sebastian Sotelo; Daniel Tannenbaum
  5. Unconditional Convergence in Manufacturing Productivity across U.S. States : What the Long-Run Data Show By Klein, Alexander; Crafts, Nicholas
  6. Alone and lonely: the economic cost of solitude for regions in Europe By Burlina, Chiara; Rodríguez-Pose, Andrés
  7. How should place-based policies be designed to efficiently promote retail agglomeration? By Aizawa, Hiroki; Kono, Tatsuhito
  8. Perpetual Motion: High-Frequency Human Mobility in Three African Countries By Paul Blanchard; Douglas Gollin; Martina Kirchberger
  9. Exploring economic activity from outer space: A Python notebook for processing and analyzing satellite nighttime lights By Carlos Mendez; Ayush Patnaik

  1. By: Mario A. Maggioni; Emanuela Marrocu; Teodora Erika Uberti; Stefano Usai
    Abstract: How do regions develop and evolve along their productive and technological path is a central question. Within an evolutionary perspective, a given region is likely to develop new technologies closer to its pre-existing specialization. We adopt the approach of Hidalgo et al. (2007) to map the regional European technology/knowledge space to investigate the pattern and the evolution of regional specialisation in the most innovative EU countries. These dynamics depend on the interaction of three factors: (i) localised technological change, (ii) endogenous processes of knowledge recombination, and (iii) exogenous technological paradigm shifts while accounting for spatial and technological spillovers. Our paper maps the technological trajectories of 198 EU regions over the period 1986-2010 by using data on 121 patent sectors at the NUTS2 level for the 11 most innovative European countries, plus Switzerland and Norway. The results show that regional technological specialization is mainly shaped by localised technological change and exogenous technological paradigm shifts, whereas recombinant innovation contributes to a lower extent and that these effects largely depends on the increasing, decreasing or stable regional dynamics.
    JEL: C23 O14 O31 O33 O52 R11 R12
    Date: 2023
  2. By: Jens Suedekum (Duesseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE))
    Abstract: Proactive regional policies to aide local transformation processes are in the limelight these days. This paper firstly discusses the big paradigm shift in mainstream economics towards this newly gained prominence of place-based policies. Afterwards, the paper introduces the most voluminous case in Germany, the coal exit. My analysis suggests that the three involved lignite mining areas, which have received unusual amounts for structural support, must realize that they are role models. But a preliminary assessment suggests that the resources will mostly flow into rather conventional spending categories. There is little evidence for moonshot projects or innovative novel paths that only those regions could try out – given the unique circumstances they are in. This misses the chance to experiment how proactive regional policies could exploit their full potential.
    Keywords: proactive regional policy, automobile industry, coal- /lignite-exit, innovative policies
    JEL: L5 L52 L62 L71
    Date: 2022–12
  3. By: David Autor; Christina Patterson; John Van Reenen
    Abstract: National industrial concentration in the U.S. has risen sharply since the early 1980s, but there remains dispute over whether local geographic concentration has followed a similar trend. Using near population data from the Economic Censuses, we confirm and extend existing evidence on national U.S. industrial concentration while providing novel evidence on local concentration. We document that the Herfindhahl index of local employment concentration, measured at the county-by-NAICS six-digit-industry cell level, fell between 1992 and 2017 even as local sales concentration rose. The divergence between national and local employment concentration trends is attributable to the structural transformation of U.S. economic activity: both sales and employment concentration rose within industry-by-county cells; but reallocation of sales and employment from relatively concentrated Manufacturing industries (e.g., steel mills) towards relatively un-concentrated Service industries (e.g. hair salons) reduced local concentration. A stronger between-sector shift in employment relative to sales drove the net fall in local employment concentration. Holding industry employment shares at their 1992 level, average local employment concentration would have risen by about 9% by 2017. Instead, it fell by 5%. Falling local employment concentration may intensify competition for recent market entrants. Simultaneously, rising within industry-by-geography concentration may weaken competition for incumbent workers who have limited sectoral mobility. To facilitate analysis, we have made data on these trends available at concentration trends.
    Keywords: national and local employment concentration, local geographic concentration, sales, U.S.
    Date: 2023–04–19
  4. By: Enghin Atalay; Sebastian Sotelo; Daniel Tannenbaum
    Abstract: We present new facts about the geography of work using online job ads and introduce new measures of job tasks, technology requirements, and the degree of specialization within firms or occupations. We show that the (i) intensity of interactive and analytic tasks, (ii) technological requirements, and (iii) task specialization all increase with city size. The gradient for tasks and technologies is steeper for jobs requiring a college degree. We show that these facts help account for the urban wage premium, both in aggregate and across skill groups.
    Date: 2022–12
  5. By: Klein, Alexander (University of Kent); Crafts, Nicholas (University of Sussex)
    Abstract: This paper examines long-run unconditional convergence of labour productivity in manufacturing across 48 contiguous U.S. states. For that purpose, we construct a detailed panel data set of stateindustry pairs with over 120 industries covering the period 1880-2007. We find that unconditional convergence in manufacturing productivity was pervasive and rapid – 7.6% per year in 1880-2007 – and that manufacturing accounts for most of the unconditional convergence contribution to overall productivity growth over the long run: 61% in 1880-1940 and 91% in 1958-2007. We also examined broad U.S. regions and found that in the South the contribution of unconditional 𝛽-convergence in manufacturing to aggregate productivity growth before World War II was weak not because of a slower convergence rate but a much smaller manufacturing sector.
    Keywords: convergence ; economic growth ; U.S. economic history ; manufacturing belt JEL codes: O47 ; N11 ; N12 ; R11
    Date: 2023
  6. By: Burlina, Chiara; Rodríguez-Pose, Andrés
    Abstract: Solitude is a rising phenomenon in the western world. The share of people affected by solitude has been rising for some time and the Covid-19 pandemic has further brought this trend to the fore. Yet, we know next to nothing about the aggregate subnational economic impact of the rise in solitude. In this paper we analyse the consequences of solitude on regional economic performance across Europe, distinguishing between two of its key dimensions: alone living, proxied by the regional share of single-person households and loneliness, proxied by the aggregate share of social interactions. We find that solitude has important implications for economic development, but that these go in different directions. While alone living is a substantial driver of economic growth across European regions, high shares of lonely people undermine it. The connection of loneliness with economic growth is, however, dependent on the frequency of in-person meetings, with large shares of the population meeting others socially on a weekly basis, alongside a small percentage of people who never meet others, yielding the best economic returns.
    Keywords: solitude; alone living; loneliness; growth; GDP per capita; regions
    JEL: J12 P48 R23
    Date: 2023–02–28
  7. By: Aizawa, Hiroki; Kono, Tatsuhito
    Abstract: Local governments have recently adopted place-based policies in order to revitalize decayed shopping areas in downtown areas. Developing a multipurpose shopping model, we evaluate the welfare impacts of place-based policies for downtown retail agglomeration. In the model, retail stores are under monopolistic competition, and consumers are free to choose where to reside. Results show that, whether or not place-based policies are efficient depends on the recipients of government subsidies, even if the policies promote retail agglomeration in downtown areas. Specifically, subsidizing consumers residing near downtown areas is inevitably harmful from the viewpoint of welfare, whereas subsidizing retail stores can be efficient.
    Keywords: Agglomeration; Monopolistic competition; Multipurpose shopping; Place-based policy.
    JEL: D6 D61 I38 R52
    Date: 2023
  8. By: Paul Blanchard (Trinity College Dublin); Douglas Gollin (University of Oxford); Martina Kirchberger (Trinity College Dublin)
    Abstract: This paper explores the within-country movements of people in three African countries. Although previous studies in other low-income settings have examined patterns of seasonal migration and daily commuting, much less is known about mobility at other temporal frequencies. This paper draws on a novel source of data from smartphone locations. These data allow us to observe the movements of a large set of individuals over a one-year period. We can characterize with considerable detail the locations that people visit and the frequency with which they make trips. The average smartphone user in our data ventures more than 10 km from home on 12-15% of the days when they are observed. On average, when we observe them away from home, our users are typically 35-50 km from home. We can characterize many of the specific locations that people visit when they are away from home. These include locations associated with shops and markets, government offices, and places offering a range of goods, services, and recreational venues. Big cities seem to be particularly important destinations, perhaps reflecting the range of amenities that they offer to visitors. We develop a conceptual framework that characterizes the role of visits for individuals and provides a number of testable predictions that are consistent with the movement patterns that we observe in the data. Although our sample of smartphone users is not representative of national populations, their mobility patterns offer useful insights into spatial frictions and the geographic patterns of economic activity.
    Date: 2023–04
  9. By: Carlos Mendez (Nagoya University); Ayush Patnaik (xKDR Forum)
    Abstract: Nighttime lights (NTL) data are widely recognized as a useful proxy for monitoring national, subnational, and supranational economic activity. These data offer advantages over traditional economic indicators such as GDP, including greater spatial granularity, timeliness, lower cost, and comparability between regions regardless of statistical capacity or political interference. However, despite these benefits, the use of NTL data in regional science has been limited. This is in part due to the lack of accessible methods for processing and analyzing satellite images. To address this issue, this paper presents a user-friendly geocomputational notebook that illustrates how to process and analyze satellite NTL images. First, the notebook introduces a cloud-based Python environment for visualizing, analyzing, and transforming raster satellite images into tabular data. Next, it presents interactive tools to explore the space-time patterns of the tabulated data. Finally, it describes methods for evaluating the usefulness of NTL data in terms of their cross-sectional predictions, time-series predictions, and regional inequality dynamics.
    JEL: Y9
    Date: 2023–04

This nep-geo issue is ©2023 by Andreas Koch. 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.
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