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Clean Evidence on Face-to-Face: Why Experimental Economics is of Interest to Regional Economists


  • Björn Frank

    () (University of Kassel)


The notion of face-to-face contacts has recently become very popular in regional economics and in economic geography. This is the most obvious way to explain why firms still locate in proximity to others after the "death of distance", i.e., the shrinking costs for transportation, especially transportation of messages' pure information content. While this is intuitive, controlled laboratory experiments provide much more direct and reliable evidence on the importance of face-to-face contacts. They tackle the question what personal contacts are good for, and in which cases their effects are negligible. To the best of my knowledge, regional economists and geographers are not aware of this new and developing string of literature; it is the purpose of this paper to survey and to organize the relevant experimental research with a special focus on its importance for regional economics. However, the paper might also serve to alert more experimentalists to the importance of their work for current regional science, of which they seem not to be aware either.

Suggested Citation

  • Björn Frank, 2009. "Clean Evidence on Face-to-Face: Why Experimental Economics is of Interest to Regional Economists," MAGKS Papers on Economics 200904, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
  • Handle: RePEc:mar:magkse:200904

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    Cooperation; death of distance; face-to-face; localized spillovers; trust;

    JEL classification:

    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • R19 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Other

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