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Agglomeration and welfare: the core-periphery model in the light of Bentham, Kaldor, and Rawls

  • CHARLOT, Sylvie
  • GAIGNE, Carl
  • ROBERT-Nicoud, Frederic
  • THISSE, Jacques-François

The objective of this paper is to apply different welfare approaches to the canonical model developed by Krugman, with the aim of comparing the only two possible market outcomes, i.e. agglomeration and dispersion. More precisely, we use the Pareto criterion, the compensation criteria put forward by Kaldor, as well as the utilitarian and Rawlsian welfare functions. No clear answer emerges for the following two reasons: (i) except for small range of transport cost values, there is indetermination when compensation schemes are used and (ii) the best outcome heavily depends on societal values regarding inequalities across individuals. In particular, our analysis cautions against the use of utilitarian welfare functions as a foundation for regional policy recommendations.

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Paper provided by Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) in its series CORE Discussion Papers RP with number -1857.

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Handle: RePEc:cor:louvrp:-1857
Note: In : Journal of Public Economics, 90, 325-347, 2006
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  1. Gianmarco Ottaviano & Takatoshi Tabuchi & Jacques-FranÁois Thisse, 2002. "Agglomeration and Trade Revisited," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 43(2), pages 409-436, May.
  2. J. Peter Neary, 2000. "Of Hype and Hyperbolas - Introducing the new Economic Geography," Working Papers 200019, School Of Economics, University College Dublin.
  3. OTTAVIANO, Gianmarco & THISSE, Jacques-François, . "Integration, agglomeration and the political economics of factor mobility," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1541, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  4. Paul Krugman, 1990. "Increasing Returns and Economic Geography," NBER Working Papers 3275, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Ginsburgh, Victor & Papageorgiou, Yorgo & Thisse, Jacques-Francois, 1985. "On existence and stability of spatial equilibria and steady-states," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 149-158, June.
  6. Donald R. Davis & David E. Weinstein, 2001. "Bones, Bombs and Break Points: The Geography of Economic Activity," NBER Working Papers 8517, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Keith Head & Thierry Mayer, 2004. "The Empirics of Agglomeration and Trade," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/10191, Sciences Po.
  8. Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1977. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 297-308, June.
  9. Keith Head & John Ries, 2001. "Increasing Returns versus National Product Differentiation as an Explanation for the Pattern of U.S.-Canada Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 858-876, September.
  10. Masahisa Fujita & Paul Krugman & Anthony J. Venables, 2001. "The Spatial Economy: Cities, Regions, and International Trade," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262561476, June.
  11. Wildasin, David E., 1986. "Spatial variation of the marginal utility of income and unequal treatment of equals," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 125-129, January.
  12. Robert-Nicoud, Frederic & Sbergami, Federica, 2004. "Home-market vs. vote-market effect: Location equilibrium in a probabilistic voting model," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 155-179, February.
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