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Regional science: Parallels from physics and chemistry


  • Walter Isard

    (Department of Economics, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA)


Against the background of the fruitful application of the gravitational force from physics in the development of the gravity model extensively employed in regional science, possible parallels from the analysis of the coplay of the four basic forces of particle physics are examined. In particular, the possible parallels from the analysis of the bondings of the strong force and the diverse ones of the electromagnetic force, and specifically how these parallels can replace the relatively outmoded set of concepts of scale, localization and urbanization economies for regional shopping center analysis and related urban structure theory are studied.

Suggested Citation

  • Walter Isard, 1999. "Regional science: Parallels from physics and chemistry," Papers in Regional Science, Springer;Regional Science Association International, vol. 78(1), pages 5-20.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:presci:v:78:y:1999:i:1:p:5-20 Note: Received: 15 September 1998

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. ten Raa, Thijs & Wolff, Edward N., 2000. "Engines of growth in the US economy," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 473-489, December.
    2. Robert Stehrer, 2001. "Industrial specialisation, trade, and labour market dynamics in a multisectoral model of technological progress," Computing in Economics and Finance 2001 230, Society for Computational Economics.
    3. Meller, Patricio & Marfan, Manuel, 1981. "Small and Large Industry: Employment Generation, Linkages, and Key Sectors," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(2), pages 263-274, January.
    4. Adam B. Jaffe & Manuel Trajtenberg & Rebecca Henderson, 1993. "Geographic Localization of Knowledge Spillovers as Evidenced by Patent Citations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(3), pages 577-598.
    5. Keld Laursen & Valentina Meliciani, 2002. "The relative importance of international vis-ý-vis national technological spillovers for market share dynamics," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(4), pages 875-894, August.
    6. Erik Dietzenbacher & Alex R. Hoen & Bart Los, 2000. "Labor Productivity in Western Europe 1975-1985: An Intercountry, Interindustry Analysis," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(3), pages 425-452.
    7. Bart Los & Bart Verspagen, 2006. "The Evolution Of Productivity Gaps And Specialization Patterns," Metroeconomica, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(4), pages 464-493, November.
    8. Bart Los, 2001. "Endogenous Growth and Structural Change in a Dynamic Input-Output Model," Economic Systems Research, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(1), pages 3-34.
    9. repec:jns:jbstat:v:182:y:1968:i:1:p:211-215:n:14 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Bart Los & Bart Verspagen, 2000. "R&D spillovers and productivity: Evidence from U.S. manufacturing microdata," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 25(1), pages 127-148.
    11. Jan Fagerberg, 1999. "The Economic Challenge for Europe: Adapting to Innovation-Based Growth," Working Papers 2, Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo.
    12. Soete, Luc & Verspagen, Bart & ter Weel, Bas, 2010. "Systems of Innovation," Handbook of the Economics of Innovation, Elsevier.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kristian Behrens & Frédéric Robert-Nicoud, 2009. "Krugman's "Papers in Regional Science": The 100 dollar bill on the sidewalk is gone and the 2008 Nobel Prize well-deserved," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 88(2), pages 467-489, June.
    2. Jan Möhlmann & Sjef Ederveen & Henri L.F. de Groot & Gert-Jan M. Linders, 2009. "Intangible Barriers to International Trade: A Sectoral Approach," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 09-021/3, Tinbergen Institute.
    3. Rees, John, 2000. "Regional Science: Evolving in New Directions," The Review of Regional Studies, Southern Regional Science Association, vol. 30(1), pages 43-47, Summer.
    4. Alexander Pelyasov, 2006. "European Regional Science: Between Economy of Culture and Economy of Catastrophes (Review of the ERSA 2005 Amsterdam Congress Reports)," ERSA conference papers ersa06p437, European Regional Science Association.
    5. repec:elg:eechap:14395_20 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. J. Surinach & J. C. Duque & R. Ramos & V. Royuela, 2003. "Publication Patterns in Regional and Urban Analysis: Have Topics, Techniques and Applications Changed During the 1990s?," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(4), pages 351-363.

    More about this item


    Gravity model; electromagnetic force; strong force; weak force; regional shopping center; agglomeration economies;

    JEL classification:

    • C6 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling
    • R1 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics


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