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Economic theories and spatial transformations clarifying the space-time premises and outcomes of economic theories

  • José Corpataux
  • Olivier Crevoisier

This article examines the approaches adopted by various schools of economic thought towards dealing with space and time. Each school has its own approach, though their treatment of time and space has generally been implicit. These spatial and temporal factors determine, right from the start, the way both reality and the explanatory frameworks which are supposed to take account of that very reality are looked at. The purpose of examining these various economic approaches is to clarify the view of space and time that is reflected in their premises. These ultimately determine the sometimes radical differences that emerge when looking at various theoretical traditions. In the first section, a number of contributors to equilibrium theory (from Walras to Krugman) are brought together. The approaches they use are characterised by their historical relationships with physics and mathematics. In short, their view is that space is exogenous, unchangeable, objective and abstract. The second section concentrates on schools of thought rather than specific contributors. Institutional and territorial economics have developed different conceptions of space and time, drawing their inspiration from social science and complexity theory. Space and time are always concrete. Space is marked by contrasts: it is both specific and generic, given and constructed, endogenous and exogenous. Finally, in the context of territorial economics and complexity theory, the part played by those engaged in research and modelling is addressed in terms of the way space is constructed.

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Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Journal of Economic Geography.

Volume (Year): 7 (2007)
Issue (Month): 3 (May)
Pages: 285-309

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Handle: RePEc:oup:jecgeo:v:7:y:2007:i:3:p:285-309
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  1. Ron A. Boschma & Koen Frenken, 2005. "Why is economic geography not an evolutionary science? Towards an evolutionary economic geography," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 0501, Utrecht University, Section of Economic Geography, revised Feb 2005.
  2. Olivier Crevoisier, 2004. "The Innovative Milieus Approach: Toward a Territorialized Understanding of the Economy?," GRET Publications and Working Papers 10-04, GRET Group of Research in Territorial Economy, University of Neuchâtel.
  3. Ann Markusen, 1999. "Fuzzy Concepts, Scanty Evidence, Policy Distance: The Case for Rigour and Policy Relevance in Critical Regional Studies," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(9), pages 869-884.
  4. Geoffrey M. Hodgson, 1998. "The Approach of Institutional Economics," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 166-192, March.
  5. Nicolas Grosjean & Olivier Crevoisier, 2003. "Autonomie différenciée des systèmes de production territoriaux," Revue d'économie régionale et urbaine, Armand Colin, vol. 0(2), pages 291-315.
  6. Samuels, Warren J, 1995. "The Present State of Institutional Economics," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(4), pages 569-90, August.
  7. Olivier Crevoisier, 1999. "Two ways to look at learning regions in the context of globalization: The homogenizing and particularizing approaches," GRET Publications and Working Papers 12-99, GRET Group of Research in Territorial Economy, University of Neuchâtel.
  8. Paul Krugman, 1998. "Space: The Final Frontier," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 161-174, Spring.
  9. O Crevoisier, 1996. "Proximity and territory versus space in regional science," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 28(9), pages 1683-1697, September.
  10. Chick, Victoria & Dow, Sheila C, 2001. "Formalism, Logic and Reality: A Keynesian Analysis," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(6), pages 705-21, November.
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