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Agglomeration Economies, Regional Growth, and the Aggregate Production Function: A Caveat Emptor for Regional Scientists

Listed author(s):
  • Jesus Felipe
  • John McCombie

Over the last 20 years or so, mainstream economists have become more interested in spatial economics and have introduced largely neoclassical economic concepts and tools to explain phenomena that were previously the preserve of economic geographers. One of these concepts is the aggregate production function, which is also central to much of regional growth theory. However, the estimates obtained cannot be regarded as providing evidence of the underlying technological structure of the spatial economy, including the aggregate elasticity of substitution, the degree of returns to scale, or the rate of technical progress. RÉSUMÉ Depuis une vingtaine d'ann#xe9;es, les #xe9;conomistes traditionnels font preuve d'un int#xe9;rêt sup#xe9;rieur pour l’#xe9;conomie spatiale, et ont introduit des concepts et des outils en grande partie n#xe9;oclassiques pour expliquer des ph#xe9;nomènes qui #xe9;taient, jusqu'alors, r#xe9;serv#xe9;s aux sp#xe9;cialistes de l’#xe9;conomie g#xe9;ographique. Un de ces concepts est la fonction de production globale, qui est #xe9;galement au cæur même d'une grande partie de la th#xe9;orie de croissance r#xe9;gionale. Toutefois, on ne peut consid#xe9;rer que les #xe9;valuations obtenues d#xe9;montrent la structure technologique sous-jacente de l’#xe9;conomie spatiale, y compris l’#xe9;lasticit#xe9; globale de la substitution, le degr#xe9; de rendement à l’#xe9;chelle, ou le taux de progrès technique. EXTRACTO Durante los últimos veinte años, los economistas establecidos han desarrollado mayor inter#xe9;s en la econom#xed;a espacial y han introducido conceptos y herramientas económicos mayormente neoclásicos para explicar fenómenos que anteriormente pertenec#xed;an al campo de los geógrafos económicos. Uno de estos conceptos es la función de producción agregada, que tambi#xe9;n es una parte central de mucha de la teor#xed;a del crecimiento regional. No obstante, no se puede considerar que las estimaciones obtenidas proporcionen evidencia de la estructura tecnológica subyacente de la econom#xed;a espacial, incluyendo la elasticidad agregada de sustitución, el grado de retornos a escala, o el #xed;ndice de progreso t#xe9;cnico. 聚集经济、区域经济增长和总量生产函数 摘要: 近二十年来 , 主流经济学家对空间经济学日渐热衷,引入了大量新古典主义的经 济学概念和工具来解释以前经济地理学家束手无策的现象。这些概念之一就是总量生 产函数,它对大部分区域经济增长理论也很重要。但是,得到的估计量并不能作为空 间经济学内部技术结构的证据,包括替代的总估算、规模报酬比例或者技术进度速率 。

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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Spatial Economic Analysis.

Volume (Year): 7 (2012)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
Pages: 461-484

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Handle: RePEc:taf:specan:v:7:y:2012:i:4:p:461-484
DOI: 10.1080/17421772.2012.722668
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