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The rise of the mega-region


  • Richard Florida
  • Tim Gulden
  • Charlotta Mellander


This paper develops new data on mega-regions. It takes issue with theories of globalization which argue that global economic activity is being more widely decentralized--'the world is flat'. We use a global dataset of night-time light emissions to produce an objectively consistent set of mega-regions for the globe. We draw on high-resolution population data to estimate the population of each of these regions. We then process the light data in combination with national gross domestic product (GDP) to produce rough but useful regional estimates of economic activity. We also present estimates of technological and scientific innovation. Copyright 2008, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard Florida & Tim Gulden & Charlotta Mellander, 2008. "The rise of the mega-region," Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, Cambridge Political Economy Society, vol. 1(3), pages 459-476.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:cjrecs:v:1:y:2008:i:3:p:459-476

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Josh Lerner, 2002. "150 Years of Patent Protection," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 221-225, May.
    2. Henry Overman & Anthony J. Venables, 2005. "Cities in the Developing World," CEP Discussion Papers dp0695, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    3. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Blanca Arellano Ramos & Josep Roca, 2015. "Megalopolis: An assay for the identification of the world urban mega-structures," ERSA conference papers ersa15p736, European Regional Science Association.
    2. Yicheol Han & Stephan J. Goetz & Taegon Kim & JeongJae Lee, 2013. "Estimating Employment-Related Migration from Overlapping Migration and Commuting Networks," Growth and Change, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(3), pages 474-493, September.
    3. Belal Fallah & Mark D. Partridge & Dan S. Rickman, 2014. "Geography and High-Tech Employment Growth in US Counties," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(4), pages 683-720.
    4. Riccardo Crescenzi & Andrés Rodríguez-Pose & Michael Storper, 2012. "The territorial dynamics of innovation in China and India," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(5), pages 1055-1085, September.
    5. Joan Trullén & Rafael Boix & Vittorio Galletto, 2013. "An insight on the unit of analysis in urban research," Chapters,in: Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Urban Economies, chapter 10, pages 235-266 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    6. Pekka Stenholm & Zoltán J. Ács & Robert Wuebker, 2015. "Exploring country-level institutional arrangements on the rate and type of entrepreneurial activity," Chapters,in: Global Entrepreneurship, Institutions and Incentives, chapter 20, pages 387-404 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    7. Florida, Richard & Mellander, Charlotta, 2017. "The Geography of the Global Super-Rich," Working Paper Series in Economics and Institutions of Innovation 448, Royal Institute of Technology, CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies.
    8. Martijn J. Burger & Evert J. Meijers & Marloes M. Hoogerbrugge & Jaume Masip Tresserra, 2015. "Borrowed Size, Agglomeration Shadows and Cultural Amenities in North-West Europe," European Planning Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(6), pages 1090-1109, June.
    9. World Bank Group, 2017. "Special Economic Zones," World Bank Other Operational Studies 29054, The World Bank.
    10. Mellander, Charlotta & Stolarick, Kevin & Matheson, Zara & Lobo, José, 2013. "Night-Time Light Data: A Good Proxy Measure for Economic Activity?," Working Paper Series in Economics and Institutions of Innovation 315, Royal Institute of Technology, CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • R10 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - General


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