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

Author

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  • Michal Bernard Pietrzak

    () (Nicolaus Copernicus University, Poland)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Michal Bernard Pietrzak, 2013. "Redefining The Modifiable Areal Unit Problem Within Spatial Econometrics, The Case Of The Scale Problem," Working Papers 35/2013, Institute of Economic Research, revised May 2013.
  • Handle: RePEc:pes:wpaper:2013:no35
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Michal Bernard Pietrzak, 2013. "Interpretation Of Structural Parameters For Models With Spatial Autoregression," Equilibrium. Quarterly Journal of Economics and Economic Policy, Institute of Economic Research, vol. 8(2), pages 129-155, June.
    2. Michal Bernard Pietrzak, 2014. "The Modifiable Areal Unit Problem – Analysis Of Correlation And Regression," Equilibrium. Quarterly Journal of Economics and Economic Policy, Institute of Economic Research, vol. 9(4), pages 113-131, December.
    3. Michal Bernard Pietrzak, 2014. "Redefining The Modifiable Areal Unit Problem Within Spatial Econometrics, The Case Of The Aggregation Problem," Equilibrium. Quarterly Journal of Economics and Economic Policy, Institute of Economic Research, vol. 9(3), pages 131-151, September.
    4. S Openshaw & R S Baxter, 1977. "Algorithm 3: A Procedure to Generate Pseudo-Random Aggregations of N Zones into M Zones, Where M is Less Than N," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 9(12), pages 1423-1428, December.
    5. S Openshaw, 1984. "Ecological Fallacies and the Analysis of Areal Census Data," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 16(1), pages 17-31, January.
    6. S Openshaw, 1977. "Optimal Zoning Systems for Spatial Interaction Models," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 9(2), pages 169-184, February.
    7. S Openshaw, 1984. "Ecological fallacies and the analysis of areal census data," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 16(1), pages 17-31, January.
    8. A S Fotheringham & D W S Wong, 1991. "The modifiable areal unit problem in multivariate statistical analysis," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 23(7), pages 1025-1044, July.
    9. S Openshaw, 1977. "Optimal zoning systems for spatial interaction models," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 9(2), pages 169-184, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Michal Bernard Pietrzak, 2014. "Redefining The Modifiable Areal Unit Problem Within Spatial Econometrics, The Case Of The Aggregation Problem," Equilibrium. Quarterly Journal of Economics and Economic Policy, Institute of Economic Research, vol. 9(3), pages 131-151, September.
    2. Michal Bernard Pietrzak, 2014. "The Modifiable Areal Unit Problem – Analysis Of Correlation And Regression," Equilibrium. Quarterly Journal of Economics and Economic Policy, Institute of Economic Research, vol. 9(4), pages 113-131, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    spatial econometrics; modifiable areal unit problem; scale problem; aggregation problem;

    JEL classification:

    • C01 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - General - - - Econometrics
    • C15 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Statistical Simulation Methods: General
    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models

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