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Dots to Boxes: Do the Size and Shape of Spatial Units Jeopardize Economic Geography Estimations?

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  • Briant, Anthony
  • Combes, Pierre-Philippe
  • Lafourcade, Miren

Abstract

This paper evaluates, in the context of economic geography estimates, the magnitude of the distortions arising from the choice of zoning system, which is also known as the Modifiable Areal Unit Problem (MAUP). We consider three standard economic geography exercises (the analysis of spatial concentration, agglomeration economies, and trade determinants), using various French zoning systems differentiated according to the size and shape of spatial units, which are the two main determinants of the MAUP. While size matters a little, shape does so much less. Both dimensions seem to be of secondary importance compared to specification issues.

Suggested Citation

  • Briant, Anthony & Combes, Pierre-Philippe & Lafourcade, Miren, 2008. "Dots to Boxes: Do the Size and Shape of Spatial Units Jeopardize Economic Geography Estimations?," CEPR Discussion Papers 6928, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:6928
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    agglomeration; concentration; gravity; MAUP; wage equation;

    JEL classification:

    • C10 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - General
    • C43 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Index Numbers and Aggregation
    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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