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The rise and fall of spatial inequalities in France: A long-run perspective

  • Combes, Pierre-Philippe
  • Lafourcade, Miren
  • Thisse, Jacques-François
  • Toutain, Jean-Claude

This paper studies the evolution and determinants of spatial inequalities in France. To this end, we use a unique database providing data on value-added, employment, and population over the entire set of French "Départements" in 1860, 1896, 1930, 1982, and 2000. These data cover three sectors: Agriculture, Manufacturing, and Services. Firstly, we confirm the existence of a bell-shaped process of spatial concentration in Manufacturing and Services over time. In contrast, labor productivity has been converging across departments. Secondly, we find considerable agglomeration economies over the whole period. The spatial distribution of these gains is determined mainly by market potential in the first sub-period, 1860-1930, and higher education in the second, 1930-2000.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Explorations in Economic History.

Volume (Year): 48 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 243-271

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Handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:48:y:2011:i:2:p:243-271
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