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Geography of the World Economy


  • Kiminori Matsuyama


This paper presents a theoretical framework to study the effects of geographical factors on the distribution of industries in the world econmy, which consists of many regions. The geographical feature of each region is summarized by a proximity matrix, whose elements measure the closeness between every pair of regions, and depend on the parameters representing the transport and other costs of using a variety of trade routes. The main objective is to show how a change in these costs of trade affects the distribution of industries, by amplifying the geographical advantages and disadvantages held by different regions. The results are used not only to examine the effects of an improvement in transport infrastructure, but also to discuss some problems from economic history (mostly Japanese and European), regional economic integration, the nort-south division, and others.

Suggested Citation

  • Kiminori Matsuyama, 1999. "Geography of the World Economy," Discussion Papers 1239, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  • Handle: RePEc:nwu:cmsems:1239

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1990. "Why Doesn't Capital Flow from Rich to Poor Countries?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(2), pages 92-96, May.
    2. Matsuyama, Kiminori, 1996. "Why Are There Rich and Poor Countries? Symmetry-Breaking in the World Economy," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 419-439, December.
    3. Baldwin, Richard E. & Venables, Anthony J., 1995. "Regional economic integration," Handbook of International Economics,in: G. M. Grossman & K. Rogoff (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 31, pages 1597-1644 Elsevier.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:reecon:v:71:y:2017:i:4:p:740-758 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Kiminori Matsuyama, 2002. "Explaining Diversity: Symmetry-Breaking in Complementarity Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 241-246, May.
    3. A. Kerem Co?ar & Pablo D. Fajgelbaum, 2016. "Internal Geography, International Trade, and Regional Specialization," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 8(1), pages 24-56, February.
    4. Michal Fabinger, 2013. "Trade and Interdependence in a Spatially Complex World," 2013 Meeting Papers 874, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    5. Akamatsu, Takashi & Mori, Tomoya & Osawa, Minoru & Takayama, Yuki, 2017. "Spatial scale of agglomeration and dispersion: Theoretical foundations and empirical implications," MPRA Paper 80689, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    A Multiregion Model of Trade with Increasing Returns and Transport Costs; REgional Economic Integration; Uneven Development; Geography; Locational Advantages and Disadvantages; Proximity Matrix; Trade Routes.;

    JEL classification:

    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)


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