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Location and Space-Economy at half a century: Revisiting Professor Isard's dream on the general theory


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  • Masahisa Fujita

    (Institute of Economic Research, Kyoto University, Yoshida-Hanmachi, Sakyoku, Kyoto, 606-01, Japan)


Nearly half a century has passed since the publication of the seminal work of Professor Isard, Location and Space-Economy, which became the basis of a new field called regional science. As indicated by its subtitle (i.e., A General Theory Relating to Industrial Location, Market Areas, Land Use, Trade, and Urban Structure), the book was written with the aim of nothing less than initiating the development of a general theory of location and space-economy, embracing the total spatial array of economic activities. Such a theory was supposed to include both the traditional general equilibrium theory and the international trade theory as special cases. In this paper, first I shall discuss what were his possible ideas on the general theory, given the state of economic science at that time, and what were the main contributions of Location and Space-Economy in initiating the development of such a theory. Second, I review the major contributions of subsequent works by Professor Isard and other scholars from the viewpoint of the development of the general theory. Finally, I discuss possible future directions in developing such a theory.

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Article provided by Springer in its journal The Annals of Regional Science.

Volume (Year): 33 (1999)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 371-381

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Handle: RePEc:spr:anresc:v:33:y:1999:i:4:p:371-381

Note: Received: June 1999/Accepted: July 1999
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Cited by:
  1. Fujita, Masahisa, 2012. "Thünen and the New Economic Geography," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(6), pages 907-912.


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