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New economic geography: A guide to transport analysis


  • Miren Lafourcade

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

  • Jacques-François Thisse

    (PSE - Paris School of Economics, 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, CORE - Center of Operation Research and Econometrics [Louvain] - UCL - Université Catholique de Louvain)


The paper surveys the main contributions of new economic geography from the point of view of transport analysis. It shows that decreasing transport costs is likely to exacerbate regional disparities. However, very low transport costs should foster a more balanced distribution for economic activities across space. Thus, the spatial curve of development, which relates the degree of spatial concentration to the level of transport costs, would be bell-shaped. The paper also provides a detailed discussion of the main determinants of transport costs, which remain fairly large in most countries. It concludes with a discussion of some policy implications.

Suggested Citation

  • Miren Lafourcade & Jacques-François Thisse, 2008. "New economic geography: A guide to transport analysis," PSE Working Papers halshs-00586878, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:psewpa:halshs-00586878
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Frédéric Robert-Nicoud, 2006. "Off-Shoring of Business Services and De-Industrialization: Threat or Opportunity - and for Whom?," CEP Discussion Papers dp0734, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    2. d'Aspremont, C & Gabszewicz, Jean Jaskold & Thisse, J-F, 1979. "On Hotelling's "Stability in Competition"," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(5), pages 1145-1150, September.
    3. Karen Helene Midelfart-Knarvik & Henry G. Overman, 2002. "Delocation and European integration: is structural spending justified?," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 17(35), pages 321-359, October.
    4. Martin, Philippe & Rogers, Carol Ann, 1995. "Industrial location and public infrastructure," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3-4), pages 335-351, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kazunobu Hayakawa, 2014. "Bilateral tariff rates in international trade: finished goods versus intermediate goods," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 11(3), pages 353-370, September.
    2. Julio Martinez-Galarraga & Daniel A. Tirado & Rafael González-Val, 2015. "Market potential and regional economic growth in Spain (1860–1930)," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(4), pages 335-358.
    3. Head, Keith & Mayer, Thierry & Ries, John, 2009. "How remote is the offshoring threat?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(4), pages 429-444, May.
    4. Ana Maria Bonomi Barufi, 2016. "Should I Stay Or Should I Go? Dynamic Agglomeration Economies In Brazil," Anais do XLIII Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 43rd Brazilian Economics Meeting] 164, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
    5. Ludwig von Auer & Andranik Stepanyan & Mark Trede, 2016. "Classifying Industries Into Types of Relative Concentration," CQE Working Papers 5516, Center for Quantitative Economics (CQE), University of Muenster.
    6. Crafts, Nicholas & Wolf, Nikolaus, 2014. "The Location of the UK Cotton Textiles Industry in 1838: A Quantitative Analysis," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 74(04), pages 1103-1139, December.
    7. Andrea Bassanini & Giorgio Brunello & Eve Caroli, 2017. "Not in My Community: Social Pressure and the Geography of Dismissals," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(2), pages 429-483.
    8. Breinlich, Holger & Ottaviano, Gianmarco I.P. & Temple, Jonathan R.W., 2014. "Regional Growth and Regional Decline," Handbook of Economic Growth,in: Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 4, pages 683-779 Elsevier.
    9. Ludwig von Auer & Andranik Stepanyan & Mark Trede, 2016. "Classifying Industries Into Types of Relative Concentration," Research Papers in Economics 2016-13, University of Trier, Department of Economics.
    10. Torbenko, A., 2015. "Linear City Models: Overview and Typology," Journal of the New Economic Association, New Economic Association, vol. 25(1), pages 12-38.
    11. Martin, Philippe & Mayer, Thierry & Mayneris, Florian, 2011. "Spatial concentration and plant-level productivity in France," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 182-195, March.
    12. Sandra PONCET & Laura HERING & José DE SOUSA, 2015. "Has trade openness reduced pollution in China?," Working Papers P132, FERDI.
    13. Ana Maria Bonomi Barufi, 2014. "Regional labor markets in Brazil: the role of skills and agglomeration economies," Working Papers, Department of Economics 2014_18, University of São Paulo (FEA-USP).
    14. Juan Blyde, 2013. "Paving the Road to Export: Assessing the Trade Impact of Road Quality," International Economic Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 27(4), pages 663-681, December.
    15. repec:eee:anture:v:67:y:2017:i:c:p:67-77 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Martin Koning, 2010. "The Social Cost of Road Congestion in Ile-de-France Region (and France): Empirical Evidences from the Paris Ring-Road," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00467888, HAL.
    17. Andranik Stepanyan & Ludwig von Auer & Mark Trede, 2015. "Regional Concentration and Confidence Regions," ERSA conference papers ersa15p564, European Regional Science Association.
    18. Baier, Scott & Kerr, Amanda & Yotov, Yoto, 2017. "Gravity, Distance, and International Trade," School of Economics Working Paper Series 2017-5, LeBow College of Business, Drexel University.
    19. repec:hal:journl:halshs-00363389 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Fujita, Masahisa & Thisse, Jacques-François, 2009. "New Economic Geography: An appraisal on the occasion of Paul Krugman's 2008 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 109-119, March.
    21. Julio Martínez-Galarraga, 2014. "Market potential estimates in history: a survey of methods and an application to Spain, 1867-1930," Working Papers 0051, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
    22. Hayakawa, Kazunobu, 2013. "How serious is the omission of bilateral tariff rates in gravity?," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 27(C), pages 81-94.
    23. Marcon, Eric & Traissac, Stéphane & Puech, Florence & Lang, Gabriel, 2015. "Tools to Characterize Point Patterns: dbmss for R," Journal of Statistical Software, Foundation for Open Access Statistics, vol. 67(c03).
    24. SAITO Hisamitsu & MATSUURA Toshiyuki, 2016. "Agglomeration Economies, Productivity, and Quality Upgrading," Discussion papers 16085, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    25. repec:dau:papers:123456789/13579 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    économie géographique; coûts de transport; aménagement du territoire; economic geography; transport costs; regional disparities;

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