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Dots to boxes: Do the size and shape of spatial units jeopardize economic geography estimations?

Listed author(s):
  • Anthony Briant

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

  • Pierre-Philippe Combes

    ()

    (PJSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, PSE - Paris School of Economics, GREQAM - Groupement de Recherche en Économie Quantitative d'Aix-Marseille - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - AMU - Aix Marseille Université - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - ECM - Ecole Centrale de Marseille)

  • Miren Lafourcade

    (PJSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, PSE - Paris School of Economics, Université de Valenciennes et du Hainaut Cambrésis [Valenciennes] - Université de Valenciennes et du Hainaut-Cambresis)

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-00586029.

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Date of creation: Dec 2008
Handle: RePEc:hal:psewpa:halshs-00586029
Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00586029
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  1. 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.
  2. Gilles Duranton & Henry G. Overman, 2005. "Testing for Localization Using Micro-Geographic Data," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(4), pages 1077-1106.
  3. Redding, Stephen & Venables, Anthony J., 2004. "Economic geography and international inequality," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 53-82, January.
  4. John M. Abowd & Francis Kramarz & Sébastien Roux, 2006. "Wages, Mobility and Firm Performance: Advantages and Insights from Using Matched Worker-Firm Data," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(512), pages 245-285, June.
  5. 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.
  6. Devereux, Michael P. & Griffith, Rachel & Simpson, Helen, 2004. "The geographic distribution of production activity in the UK," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(5), pages 533-564, September.
  7. Ciccone, Antonio & Hall, Robert E, 1996. "Productivity and the Density of Economic Activity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 54-70, March.
  8. Combes, Pierre-Philippe & Lafourcade, Miren & Mayer, Thierry, 2005. "The trade-creating effects of business and social networks: evidence from France," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 1-29, May.
  9. C G Amrhein & R Flowerdew, 1992. "The effect of data aggregation on a Poisson regression model of Canadian migration," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 24(10), pages 1381-1391, October.
  10. 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 507-525, December.
  11. H. Hanson, Gordon, 2005. "Market potential, increasing returns and geographic concentration," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 1-24, September.
  12. Ellison, Glenn & Glaeser, Edward L, 1997. "Geographic Concentration in U.S. Manufacturing Industries: A Dartboard Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(5), pages 889-927, October.
  13. C G Amrhein & R Flowerdew, 1992. "The Effect of Data Aggregation on a Poisson Regression Model of Canadian Migration," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 24(10), pages 1381-1391, October.
  14. 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.
  15. Combes, Pierre-Philippe & Duranton, Gilles & Gobillon, Laurent, 2008. "Spatial wage disparities: Sorting matters!," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 723-742, March.
  16. McCallum, John, 1995. "National Borders Matter: Canada-U.S. Regional Trade Patterns," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(3), pages 615-623, June.
  17. 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".
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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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