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Dots To Boxes: Do The Size And Shape Of Spatial Units Jeopardize Economic Geography Estimations?

  • Anthony Briant


    (PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC))

  • Pierre-Philippe Combes


    (GREQAM - Groupement de Recherche en Économie Quantitative d'Aix-Marseille - Université de la Méditerranée - Aix-Marseille 2 - Université Paul Cézanne - Aix-Marseille 3 - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - AMU - Aix-Marseille Université - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Miren Lafourcade

    (PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC))

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.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series PSE Working Papers with number halshs-00349294.

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Date of creation: 28 Dec 2008
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Handle: RePEc:hal:psewpa:halshs-00349294
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  1. Maurel, Francoise & Sedillot, Beatrice, 1999. "A measure of the geographic concentration in french manufacturing industries," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 575-604, September.
  2. A S Fotheringham & D W S Wong, 1991. "The Modifiable Areal Unit Problem in Multivariate Statistical Analysis," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 23(7), pages 1025-1044, July.
  3. Combes, Pierre-Philippe & Duranton, Gilles & Gobillon, Laurent, 2004. "Spatial Wage Disparities: Sorting Matters!," CEPR Discussion Papers 4240, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  5. Pierre-Philippe Combes & Miren Lafourcade & Thierry Mayer, 2005. "The Trade Creating Effects of Business and Social Networks: Evidence from France," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) hal-00268768, HAL.
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  10. John M. Abowd & Robert H. Creecy & Francis Kramarz, 2002. "Computing Person and Firm Effects Using Linked Longitudinal Employer-Employee Data," Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics Technical Papers 2002-06, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  11. Carlo Menon, 2008. "The Bright Side of MAUP: an Enquiry on the Determinants of Industrial Agglomeration in the United States," Working Papers 2008_29, Department of Economics, University of Venice "Ca' Foscari".
  12. James E. Rauch, 2001. "Business and Social Networks in International Trade," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(4), pages 1177-1203, December.
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  16. A S Fotheringham & D W S Wong, 1991. "The modifiable areal unit problem in multivariate statistical analysis," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 23(7), pages 1025-1044, July.
  17. McCallum, John, 1995. "National Borders Matter: Canada-U.S. Regional Trade Patterns," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 615-23, June.
  18. C G Amrhein, 1995. "Searching for the elusive aggregation effect: evidence from statistical simulations," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 27(1), pages 105-119, January.
  19. Wagner, Don & Head, Keith & Ries, John, 2002. "Immigration and the Trade of Provinces," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 49(5), pages 507-25, December.
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