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Regional economics: theoretical achievements and challenges


  • Roberta CAPELLO

    (Faculty of Building Engineering, Regional Economics at Politecnico of Milan, Italy)


Regional Economics has just entered in its fifties. It is a young discipline compared to other branches of the economy, yet much work has been done in this field. A vast and rich number of theoretical and methodological approaches exist nowadays to incorporate space into logical schemes, laws and models which regulate and interpret the formation of prices, demand, productive capacity, levels of output and development, growth rates, and the distribution of income in conditions of unequal regional endowments of resources. This contribution provides the state of the art in Regional Economics with the aim to highlight the scientific achievements obtained so far and the theoretical and methodological gaps which still need to be filled out. Aspects that run counter to general beliefs emerge by reading the original contributions of well-known theoreticians, and will be presented. Future challenges will emerge from a critical approach to the milestones achieved so far.

Suggested Citation

  • Roberta CAPELLO, 2012. "Regional economics: theoretical achievements and challenges," Timisoara Journal of Economics, West University of Timisoara, Romania, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, vol. 5(18), pages 313-335.
  • Handle: RePEc:wun:journl:tje:v05:y2012:i18:a08

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Romer, Paul M, 1986. "Increasing Returns and Long-run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 1002-1037, October.
    2. 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.
    3. Anselin, Luc & Varga, Attila & Acs, Zoltan, 1997. "Local Geographic Spillovers between University Research and High Technology Innovations," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 422-448, November.
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    5. Jaffe, Adam B, 1989. "Real Effects of Academic Research," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(5), pages 957-970, December.
    6. Maskell, Peter & Malmberg, Anders, 1999. "Localised Learning and Industrial Competitiveness," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(2), pages 167-185, March.
    7. Roberta Capello & Camilla Lenzi, 2011. "Territorial Patterns of Innovation in Europe," ERSA conference papers ersa11p1900, European Regional Science Association.
    8. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
    9. Roberta Capello & Peter Nijkamp, 2003. "The theoretical and methodological toolbox of urban economics: from and towards where?," ERSA conference papers ersa03p510, European Regional Science Association.
    10. Yannick Lung, 2002. "Introduction," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(4), pages 737-741, December.
    11. Bengt-ake Lundvall & Bjorn Johnson, 1994. "The Learning Economy," Industry and Innovation, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 1(2), pages 23-42.
    12. Andrew M. Isserman, 1993. "Lost In Space? On The History, Status, And Future Of Regional Science (Presidential Address, April 4, 1992)," The Review of Regional Studies, Southern Regional Science Association, vol. 23(1), pages 1-50, Summer.
    13. Camagni, Roberto, 2002. "On the concept of territorial competitiveness: sound or misleading?," ERSA conference papers ersa02p518, European Regional Science Association.
    14. Roberta Capello, 1999. "Spatial Transfer of Knowledge in High Technology Milieux: Learning Versus Collective Learning Processes," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(4), pages 353-365.
    15. Ron Boschma, 2004. "Competitiveness of Regions from an Evolutionary Perspective," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(9), pages 1001-1014.
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    More about this item


    Regional economics; space; local growth; theoretical directions; future challenges;

    JEL classification:

    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)
    • R58 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - Regional Development Planning and Policy


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