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Dots to boxes: Do the size and shape of spatial units jeopardize economic geography estimations?

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  • Anthony Briant

    (PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS : UMR8545 - École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC) - École normale supérieure [ENS] - Paris, EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Ecole d'Économie de Paris)

  • Pierre-Philippe Combes

    ()
    (PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS : UMR8545 - École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC) - École normale supérieure [ENS] - Paris, EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Ecole d'Économie de Paris, GREQAM - Groupement de Recherche en Économie Quantitative d'Aix-Marseille - Université de la Méditerranée - Aix-Marseille II - Université Paul Cézanne - Aix-Marseille III - École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) - CNRS : UMR6579)

  • Miren Lafourcade

    (PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS : UMR8545 - École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC) - École normale supérieure [ENS] - Paris, EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Ecole d'Économie de Paris, Université de Valenciennes et du Hainaut Cambrésis [Valenciennes] - Université de Valenciennes et du Hainaut-Cambresis)

Abstract

This paper evaluates, in the context of economic geography estimates, the magnitude of the distortions arising from the choice of zoning system, which is also known as the Modifiable Areal Unit Problem (MAUP). We consider three standard economic geography exercises (the analysis of spatial concentration, agglomeration economies, and trade determinants), using various French zoning systems differentiated according to the size and shape of spatial units, which are the two main determinants of the MAUP. While size matters a little, shape does so much less. Both dimensions seem to be of secondary importance compared to specification issues.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by HAL in its series PSE Working Papers with number halshs-00586029.

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Date of creation: Dec 2008
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Handle: RePEc:hal:psewpa:halshs-00586029

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Keywords: MAUP ; concentration ; agglomeration ; wage equations ; gravity;

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  1. Hanson, G.H., 1999. "`Market Potential, Increasing Returns, and Geographic Concentration," Working Papers 439, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  2. A S Fotheringham & D W S Wong, 1991. "The modifiable areal unit problem in multivariate statistical analysis," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 23(7), pages 1025-1044, July.
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  13. Glenn Ellison & Edward L. Glaeser, 1994. "Geographic Concentration in U.S. Manufacturing Industries: A Dartboard Approach," NBER Working Papers 4840, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Stephen Redding & Anthony J. Venables, 2001. "Economic Geography and International Inequality," International Trade 0103003, EconWPA.
  15. McCallum, John, 1995. "National Borders Matter: Canada-U.S. Regional Trade Patterns," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 615-23, June.
  16. Wagner, Don & Head, Keith & Ries, John, 2002. "Immigration and the Trade of Provinces," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 49(5), pages 507-25, December.
  17. Maurel, Francoise & Sedillot, Beatrice, 1999. "A measure of the geographic concentration in french manufacturing industries," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 575-604, September.
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