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The rise and fall of spatial inequalities in France: A long-run perspective

  • Pierre-Philippe Combes

    ()

    (GREQAM - Groupement de Recherche en Économie Quantitative d'Aix-Marseille - ECM - Ecole Centrale de Marseille - AMU - Aix Marseille Université - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - Université Paul Cézanne - Aix-Marseille 3 - Université de la Méditerranée - Aix-Marseille 2 - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, PSE - Paris School of Economics, 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))

  • Miren Lafourcade

    (PSE - Paris School of Economics, 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), Université de Valenciennes et du Hainaut Cambrésis [Valenciennes] - Université de Valenciennes et du Hainaut-Cambresis)

  • Jacques-François Thisse

    (PSE - Paris School of Economics, CORE - Center of Operation Research and Econometrics [Louvain] - UCL - Université Catholique de Louvain, PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC) - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Jean-Claude Toutain

    (ERMES - Equipe de recherche sur les marches, l'emploi et la simulation - UP2 - Université Panthéon-Assas - M.E.N.E.S.R. - Ministère de l'Éducation nationale, de l’Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, UP1 - Université Panthéon-Sorbonne)

This paper uses a unique database that provides value-added, employment, and population levels for the entire set of French departments for the years 1860, 1930, and 2000. These data cover three sectors: agriculture, manufacturing, and services. This allows us to study the evolution of spatial inequalities within France and to test the empirical relevance of economic geography predictions over the long run. The evidence confirms the existence of a bell-shaped evolution of the spatial concentration of manufacturing and services. In contrast, labor productivity has been converging across departments. Last, our study also confirms the presence of strong agglomeration economies during the full time-period. Market potential during the first sub-period (1860-1930), and higher education during the second (1930-2000), together with sectoral diversity, account for the spatial distribution of these gains.

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Date of creation: Oct 2008
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Handle: RePEc:hal:psewpa:halshs-00586214
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