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Delineating functional territories from outer space

Author

Listed:
  • Julio A. Berdegué

    () (FAO Regional Representative for Latin America and the Caribbean)

  • Tatiana Hiller

    () (University of the Andes)

  • Juan Mauricio Ramírez

    () (Latin American Center for Rural Development (RIMISP))

  • Santiago Satizábal

    () (Latin American Center for Rural Development (RIMISP))

  • Isidro Soloaga

    () (Universidad Iberoamericana)

  • Juan Soto

    () (Universidad Católica del Norte (UCN))

  • Miguel Uribe

    () (Universidad Iberoamericana)

  • Olga Vargas

    () (Latin American Center for Rural Development (RIMISP), Associate Researcher Fondecyt)

Abstract

The delimitation of functional spatial units or functional territories is an important topic in regional science and economic geography, since the empirical verification of many causal relationships is affected by the size and shape of these areas. This paper proposes a two-step method for the delimitation of functional territories and presents an application for three developing countries: Mexico, Colombia and Chile. The first step of this method uses nighttime satellite images to identify the boundaries of urban continuums (conurbations). When these continuums extend over more than one municipality, we group and redefine them as a new single spatial unit. The second step calculates a dissimilarity index using bidirectional labor-commuting flows between the resulting areas of the first step and then applies a standard clustering procedure to delineate the definitive functional territories. Our results suggest that, using nighttime satellite images, our method can lead to a more accurate definition of functional territories, especially in developing or underdeveloped countries where the official data on labor-commuting flows are often outdated or unreliable.

Suggested Citation

  • Julio A. Berdegué & Tatiana Hiller & Juan Mauricio Ramírez & Santiago Satizábal & Isidro Soloaga & Juan Soto & Miguel Uribe & Olga Vargas, 2019. "Delineating functional territories from outer space," Latin American Economic Review, Springer;Centro de Investigaciòn y Docencia Económica (CIDE), vol. 28(1), pages 1-24, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:laecrv:v:28:y:2019:i:1:d:10.1186_s40503-019-0066-4
    DOI: 10.1186/s40503-019-0066-4
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    Cited by:

    1. Artuc,Erhan & Christiaensen,Luc & Winkler,Hernan Jorge, 2019. "Does Automation in Rich Countries Hurt Developing Ones? : Evidence from the U.S. and Mexico," Policy Research Working Paper Series 8741, The World Bank.
    2. Manuel Pérez-Trujillo & Mauricio Oyarzo Aguilar & Dusan Paredes Araya, 2020. "Long-distance commuting and the effect of differentiated salary expectations in the commuters’ place of living on the wage obtained in the place of working," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 65(2), pages 459-489, October.
    3. Cazzuffi, Chiara & Díaz, Vivián & Fernández, Juan & Leyton, Cristian, 2020. "Spatial inequality and aspirations for economic inclusion among Latin American youth," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 118(C).
    4. Leopoldo Fergusson & Tatiana Hiller & Ana María Ibáñez, 2018. "Growth and inclusion trajectories of Colombian functional territories," Documentos CEDE 016947, Universidad de los Andes - CEDE.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Functional territories; Functional economic areas; Local labor market areas; Night light satellite data; Commuting flows;

    JEL classification:

    • R1 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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