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Returns To Scale And Regional Growth: The Static-Dynamic Verdoorn Law Paradox Revisited

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  • John S. L. McCombie
  • Mark Roberts

Abstract

It has long been an article of faith amongst regional economists that increasing returns to scale are necessary to explain the punctiform location of economic activity and population. However, there is no consensus in the empirical literature over whether returns to scale are constant or increasing. A notable example of this lack of agreement is provided by the static-dynamic Verdoorn law paradox. While the dynamic Verdoorn law (specified using growth rates) yields estimates of substantial increasing returns to scale, the static Verdoorn law (specified using log-levels) indicates only the presence of constant returns to scale. In this paper, we explain the static-dynamic Verdoorn law paradox by showing that estimates of returns to scale obtained using the static law are subject to a spatial aggregation bias, which biases the estimates towards constant returns to scale. We illustrate our arguments by means of simulation exercises. The results obtained hold general lessons for applied economic analysis using spatial data. Copyright Blackwell Publishing, Inc. 2007

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Journal of Regional Science.

Volume (Year): 47 (2007)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 179-208

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Handle: RePEc:bla:jregsc:v:47:y:2007:i:2:p:179-208

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Web page: http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/journal.asp?ref=0022-4146

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Cited by:
  1. Richard Harris, 2008. "Models of Regional Growth: Past, Present and Future," SERC Discussion Papers 0002, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
  2. Christine Carton Madura, 2009. "Mecanismos kaldorianos del crecimiento regional: Aplicación empírica al caso del ALADI (1980-2007)," Economic Analysis Working Papers (2002-2010). Atlantic Review of Economics (2011-2013), Colexio de Economistas de A Coruña, Spain and Fundación Una Galicia Moderna, vol. 8, pages 1-24, May.
  3. Kim, Man-Keun & Harris, Thomas R., 2008. "An Efficiency Analysis of Nevada and Utah Counties: Region Size Leads Regional Efficiency," 2008 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2008, Orlando, Florida 6338, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  4. Fazio, Giorgio & Maltese, Enza & Piacentino, Davide, 2011. "Estimating Verdoorn law for Italian firms and regions," MPRA Paper 35388, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Ofria, Ferdinando & Millemaci, Emanuele, 2010. "Kaldor-Verdoorn’s law and increasing returns to scale: a comparison across developed countries," MPRA Paper 30941, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Ferdinando Ofria, 2009. "L'approccio Kaldor-Verdoorn: una verifica empirica per il Centro-Nord e il Mezzogiorno d'Italia (anni 1951-2006)," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, issue 1, pages 179-207, January-M.
  7. Jesus Felipe & John McCombie, 2012. "Problems with Regional Production Functions and Estimates of Agglomeration Economies: A Caveat Emptor for Regional Scientists," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_725, Levy Economics Institute.
  8. Richard Harris, 2008. "Models of regional growth: past, present and future," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 33146, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  9. Ugo Fratesi, 2010. "Regional innovation and competitiveness in a dynamic representation," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 20(4), pages 515-552, August.
  10. Alvaro Angeriz & John McCombie & Mark Roberts, 2008. "Returns to Scale for EU Regional Manufacturing," Working Papers 20, Queen Mary, University of London, School of Business and Management, Centre for Globalisation Research.
  11. Andrew Sharpe & Eric Thomson, 2010. "Insights into Canada’s Abysmal Post-2000 Productivity Performance from Decompositions of Labour Productivity Growth by Industry and Province," International Productivity Monitor, Centre for the Study of Living Standards, vol. 20, pages 48-67, Fall.

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