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Population distribution, effective area and economic growth


  • Régis Chenavaz
  • Octavio Escobar


The usual measure for the factor land is the total area. But total area is a flawed measure because land is of unequal quality. To account for land quality, we use an alternative measure called effective area . Effective area is based on spatial population distribution which captures both natural conditions and human activity. Theoretically, effective area explains economic growth better than total area that biases the measure of total factor productivity (TFP) growth. Empirically on the basis of 40 years of panel data for the United States, an increase of 10% in effective area is associated with an economic growth of 5%, and the omission of effective area undervalues the growth of TFP by 8.1%.

Suggested Citation

  • Régis Chenavaz & Octavio Escobar, 2015. "Population distribution, effective area and economic growth," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(53), pages 5776-5790, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:47:y:2015:i:53:p:5776-5790
    DOI: 10.1080/00036846.2015.1058907

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    References listed on IDEAS

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