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Optimal agglomeration and regional policy

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  • Jens Suedekum

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  • Michael Pflueger

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    Abstract

    This paper studies the social desirability of agglomeration and the efficiency arguments for regional policy in a simple, analytically solvable ‘new economic geography’ model with two trade integrating regions. The location pattern emerging as market equilibrium is ?-shaped, featuring dispersion of firms both at high and low trade costs and stable equilibria with partial agglomeration of firms in addition to core periphery equilibria for intermediate levels of trade costs. Our central finding is that the market equilibrium is characterised by over-agglomeration for high trade costs and under-agglomeration for low trade costs. For an intermediate level of trade costs, the market equilibrium yields the socially optimal degree of agglomeration. An important implication of this result is that, on efficiency grounds, regional policy should foster the dispersion of firms for a range of high trade costs only, but agglomeration for a range of low trade costs. Hence, regional policies, such as those pursued by the European Union (which are aimed at fostering dispersion in general), is counterproductive when trade integration is deep enough JEL-Classification: F12, F15, F22, R12, R50 Keywords: economic geography, regional policy, optimal agglomeration, welfare

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by European Regional Science Association in its series ERSA conference papers with number ersa04p341.

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    Date of creation: Aug 2004
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    Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa04p341

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    1. Masahisa Fujita & Paul Krugman & Anthony J. Venables, 2001. "The Spatial Economy: Cities, Regions, and International Trade," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262561476, December.
    2. Flam, Harry & Helpman, Elhanan, 1987. "Industrial policy under monopolistic competition," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1-2), pages 79-102, February.
    3. Krugman, Paul R & Venables, Anthony J, 1995. "Globalization and the Inequality of Nations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(4), pages 857-80, November.
    4. repec:fth:iniesr:430 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Forslid, Rikard, 1999. "Agglomeration with Human and Physical Capital: an Analytically Solvable Case," CEPR Discussion Papers 2102, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Rikard Forslid & Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano, 2003. "An analytically solvable core-periphery model," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(3), pages 229-240, July.
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