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Concentration, agglomeration and the size of plants

  • Lafourcade, Miren
  • Mion, Giordano

This paper investigates whether the geographic distribution of manufacturing activities depends on the size of plants. Using Italian data, we find, as in Kim [Kim, S., 1995. Expansion of markets and the geographic concentration of economic activities: the trends in U.S. regional manufacturing structure, 1860–1987, Quarterly Journal of Economics 110 (4), 881–908.], Holmes and Stevens [Holmes, T.J., and Stevens, J.J., 2002. Geographic concentration and establishment scale, Review of Economics and Statistics 84, 682–690.], and Holmes and Stevens [Holmes, T.J. and Stevens, J.J., 2004. Spatial distribution of economic activities in North America, in: J.V. Henderson and J.F. Thisse, eds., Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, Vol.4, (Elsevier-North Holland, Amsterdam).], that large plants are more concentrated than small plants. However, considering distance-based patterns via spatial auto-correlation, we find that small establishments actually exhibit a greater tendency to be located in adjacent areas. These apparently contradictory findings raise a measurement issue regarding co-location externalities and suggest that large plants are more likely to cluster within narrow geographical units (concentration), while small establishments would rather co-locate within wider distance-based clusters (agglomeration). This picture is consistent with different size plants engaging in different transport-intensive activities.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Regional Science and Urban Economics.

Volume (Year): 37 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 46-68

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Handle: RePEc:eee:regeco:v:37:y:2007:i:1:p:46-68
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  1. Ellison, G. & Glaeser, E.L., 1994. "Geographic Concentration in U.S. Manufacturing Industries: A Dartboard Approach," Working papers 94-27, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  2. Gilles Duranton & Henry G. Overman, 2005. "Testing for Localization Using Micro-Geographic Data," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(4), pages 1077-1106.
  3. Marcello Pagnini, 2003. "Misura e determinanti dell’agglomerazione spaziale nei comparti industriali in Italia," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, vol. 93(2), pages 149-, March-Apr.
  4. Thomas J. Holmes & John J. Stevens, 2002. "Geographic Concentration and Establishment Scale," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(4), pages 682-690, November.
  5. Antonio Ciccone & Robert E. Hall, 1993. "Productivity and the Density of Economic Activity," NBER Working Papers 4313, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Holmes, Thomas J. & Stevens, John J., 2004. "Spatial distribution of economic activities in North America," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: J. V. Henderson & J. F. Thisse (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 63, pages 2797-2843 Elsevier.
  7. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum & Francis Kramarz, 2008. "An Anatomy of International Trade: Evidence from French Firms," NBER Working Papers 14610, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Barrios, Salvador & Bertinelli, Luisito & Strobl, E. & Teixeira, Antonio-Carlos, 2005. "The dynamics of agglomeration: evidence from Ireland and Portugal," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 170-188, January.
  9. Fujita, Masahisa & Mori, Tomoya & Henderson, J. Vernon & Kanemoto, Yoshitsugu, 2004. "Spatial distribution of economic activities in Japan and China," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: J. V. Henderson & J. F. Thisse (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 65, pages 2911-2977 Elsevier.
  10. Antonio Ciccone, 1998. "Agglomeration-effects in Europe," Economics Working Papers 499, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Aug 1999.
  11. Pierre-Philippe Combes & Henry G. Overman, 2003. "The spatial distribution of economic activities in the European Union," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20023, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  12. BARRIOS, Salvador & BERTINELLI, Luisito & STROBL, Eric, 2003. "Geographic concentration and establishment scale: can panel data tell us more ?," CORE Discussion Papers 2003036, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  13. Michael P. Devereux & Rachel Griffith & Helen Simpson, 2000. "The Geographic Distribution of Production Activity in the UK," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1397, Econometric Society.
  14. Eric Marcon & Florence Puech, 2003. "Evaluating the geographic concentration of industries using distance-based methods," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(4), pages 409-428, October.
  15. Anne-Célia Disdier & Keith Head, 2008. "The Puzzling Persistence of the Distance Effect on Bilateral Trade," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(1), pages 37-48, February.
  16. repec:cor:louvrp:1963 is not listed on IDEAS
  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.
  18. Richard E. Baldwin & Toshihiro Okubo, 2006. "Heterogeneous firms, agglomeration and economic geography: spatial selection and sorting," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(3), pages 323-346, June.
  19. Karen Helen Midelfart-Knarvik & Henry G. Overman & Stephen Redding & Anthony J. Venables, 2002. "Integration and Industrial. Specialisation in the European Union," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 53(3), pages 469-481.
  20. Pierre-Philippe Combes & Miren Lafourcade, 2005. "Transport costs: measures, determinants, and regional policy implications for France," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 5(3), pages 319-349, June.
  21. Giuseppe Arbia, 2001. "articles: Modelling the geography of economic activities on a continuous space," Papers in Regional Science, Springer, vol. 80(4), pages 411-424.
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