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How important is geography for agglomeration?


  • Michael Roos


The economic geography literature distinguishes between two types of reasons for economic agglomeration. Regional concentration of economic activity can be attributed to ''first nature'' meaning geographic advantages and disadvantages given by nature or to ''second nature'' meaning agglomeration economies by the interaction of economic agents. Several recent studies tried to estimate the relative importance of the two types of explanation. Most of these studies seem to exaggerate the importance of natural advantages because of loose definitions of geography. We describe geography by a small set of non-economic variables and estimate their importance for agglomeration in Germany. We find that about one third of the agglomeration of economic activity can be attributed to geography.

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  • Michael Roos, 2001. "How important is geography for agglomeration?," Discussion Papers in Economics 01_09, University of Dortmund, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:mik:wpaper:01_09

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    1. Masahisa Fujita & Paul Krugman & Anthony J. Venables, 2001. "The Spatial Economy: Cities, Regions, and International Trade," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262561476, January.
    2. Paul R. Krugman, 1991. "First Nature, Second Nature, and Metropolitan Location," NBER Working Papers 3740, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Edward L. Glaeser & Glenn Ellison, 1999. "The Geographic Concentration of Industry: Does Natural Advantage Explain Agglomeration?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 311-316, May.
    4. Alberto F. Ades & Edward L. Glaeser, 1995. "Trade and Circuses: Explaining Urban Giants," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(1), pages 195-227.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
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    1. Efthymia Kyriakopoulou & Anastasios Xepapadeas, "undated". "Environmental Policy and the Collapse of the Monocentric City," DEOS Working Papers 1021, Athens University of Economics and Business.
    2. Wahl, Fabian, 2016. "Does medieval trade still matter? Historical trade centers, agglomeration and contemporary economic development," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 50-60.
    3. Rodríguez-Pose, Andrés & Tselios, Vassilis & Winkler, Deborah & Farole, Thomas, 2013. "Geography and the Determinants of Firm Exports in Indonesia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 225-240.
    4. Chincarini, Ludwig & Asherie, Neer, 2008. "An analytical model for the formation of economic clusters," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 252-270, May.
    5. Christ, Julian P., 2010. "Geographic concentration and spatial inequality: Two decades of EPO patenting at the level of European micro regions," Violette Reihe: Schriftenreihe des Promotionsschwerpunkts "Globalisierung und Beschäftigung" 32/2010, University of Hohenheim, Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg, Evangelisches Studienwerk.
    6. Rafael González-Val, 2015. "Cross-sectional growth in US cities from 1990 to 2000," Journal of Geographical Systems, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 83-106, January.
    7. Anna Agliari & Pasquale Commendatore & Ilaria Foroni & Ingrid Kubin, 2011. "Border Collision Bifurcations in a Footloose Capital Model with First Nature Firms," Computational Economics, Springer;Society for Computational Economics, vol. 38(3), pages 349-366, October.
    8. Hans-Friedrich Eckey & Reinhold Kosfeld & Matthias Türck, 2007. "Regionale Entwicklung mit und ohne räumliche Spillover-Effekte," Review of Regional Research: Jahrbuch für Regionalwissenschaft, Springer;Gesellschaft für Regionalforschung (GfR), vol. 27(1), pages 23-42, February.
    9. Brakman, Steven & Garretsen, Harry & Schramm, Marc, 2006. "Putting new economic geography to the test: Free-ness of trade and agglomeration in the EU regions," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(5), pages 613-635, September.

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