IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Redefining The Modifiable Areal Unit Problem Within Spatial Econometrics, The Case Of The Scale Problem

  • Michal Bernard Pietrzak


    (Nicolaus Copernicus University, Poland)

The paper focuses on the issue of the modifiable areal unit problem (MAUP), which is frequently discussed within spatial econometrics. This issue concerns the changeability of the characteristics of the analysed phenomena under the impact of the change in the composition of territorial units (see Openshaw, Taylor 1979; Arbia 1989). The article indicates four conditions which need to be fulfilled if the correctness of spatial analyses is to be maintained. Also, the paper introduces the concept of the quasi composition of regions (QCR). It was defined as a set of particular compositions of territorial units for subsequent aggregation scales. Particular compositions of territorial units are selected in a way that allows a correct analysis within the undertaken research problem to be conducted. The chief asset of the paper is the proposal to redefine the concept of the modifiable areal unit problem. Both the scale problem and the aggregation problem were linked to the accepted quasi composition of regions. The redefinition of the concept is vital for the research conducted since analysing phenomena based on compositions of territorial units which are excluded from the quasi composition of regions leads to the formulation of incorrect conclusions. Within the undertaken research problem there exists only one particular composition of territorial units which allows the identification and description of the dependence for analysed phenomena. Within the considered modifiable areal unit problem two potential problems were defined and they can occur while making spatial analyses. The first is the final areal interpretation problem (FAIP) that occurs when the characteristics of phenomena or the dependence are designated for too large region. The other issue is the aggregation scale interpretation problem (ASIP). It occurs when a quasi composition of regions is enlarged by an aggregation scale where the correctness of the results of the undertaken research problem is not preserved. In both cases it is possible to reach a situation where the obtained characteristics will be deprived of the cognitive value.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
File Function: First version, 2013
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Institute of Economic Research in its series Working Papers with number 35/2013.

in new window

Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2013
Date of revision: May 2013
Publication status: Published in Equilibrium. Quarterly Journal of Economics and Economic Policy, 2013, Volume 8, Issue 2, s. 129-155.
Handle: RePEc:pes:wpaper:2013:no35
Contact details of provider: Web page:

More information through EDIRC

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pes:wpaper:2013:no35. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Adam P. Balcerzak)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.