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Measuring the Localization of Economic Activity: A Random Utility Approach


  • Paulo Guimarães

    () (Universidade do Minho and CEMPRE)

  • Octávio Figueiredo

    () (CEMPRE, Faculdade de Economia da Universidade do Porto)

  • Douglas Woodward

    (University of South Carolina)


The recent index proposed by Ellison & Glaeser (1997) is now well established as the preferred method for measuring the localization of economic activity. We build on McFadden's Random Utility (Profit) Maximization framework, to develop a parametric version of this measure that is more consistent with the theory originally proposed by Ellison and Glaeser (EG). Given that our method is regression based, it goes beyond the descriptive nature of the EG index, allowing us to evaluate how the localization measure behaves with changes in the determinants that drive firms' location decisions.

Suggested Citation

  • Paulo Guimarães & Octávio Figueiredo & Douglas Woodward, 2004. "Measuring the Localization of Economic Activity: A Random Utility Approach," FEP Working Papers 161, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
  • Handle: RePEc:por:fepwps:161

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bartik, Timothy J, 1985. "Business Location Decisions in the United States: Estimates of the Effects of Unionization, Taxes, and Other Characteristics of States," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 3(1), pages 14-22, January.
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    3. Head, Keith & Ries, John & Swenson, Deborah, 1995. "Agglomeration benefits and location choice: Evidence from Japanese manufacturing investments in the United States," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(3-4), pages 223-247, May.
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    5. Mata, Jose & Portugal, Pedro & Guimaraes, Paulo, 1995. "The survival of new plants: Start-up conditions and post-entry evolution," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 459-481, December.
    6. Gilles Duranton & Henry G. Overman, 2005. "Testing for Localization Using Micro-Geographic Data," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(4), pages 1077-1106.
    7. Thomas J. Holmes & John J. Stevens, 2002. "Geographic Concentration and Establishment Scale," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(4), pages 682-690, November.
    8. Devereux, Michael P. & Griffith, Rachel & Simpson, Helen, 2004. "The geographic distribution of production activity in the UK," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(5), pages 533-564, September.
    9. Louviere,Jordan J. & Hensher,David A. & Swait,Joffre D. With contributions by-Name:Adamowicz,Wiktor, 2000. "Stated Choice Methods," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521788304, March.
    10. Luís M B Cabral & José Mata, 2003. "On the Evolution of the Firm Size Distribution: Facts and Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1075-1090, September.
    11. Carlton, Dennis W, 1983. "The Location and Employment Choices of New Firms: An Econometric Model with Discrete and Continuous Endogenous Variables," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 65(3), pages 440-449, August.
    12. Schmenner, Roger W. & Huber, Joel C. & Cook, Randall L., 1987. "Geographic differences and the location of new manufacturing facilities," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 83-104, January.
    13. 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.
    14. Figueiredo, Octavio & Guimaraes, Paulo & Woodward, Douglas, 2002. "Home-field advantage: location decisions of Portuguese entrepreneurs," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 341-361, September.
    15. Coughlin, Cletus C & Terza, Joseph V & Arromdee, Vachira, 1991. "State Characteristics and the Location of Foreign Direct Investment within the United States," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 73(4), pages 675-683, November.
    16. Hansen, Eric R., 1987. "Industrial location choice in Sao Paulo, Brazil : A nested logit model," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 89-108, February.
    17. Guimaraes, Paulo & Figueiredo, Octavio & Woodward, Douglas, 2000. "Agglomeration and the Location of Foreign Direct Investment in Portugal," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 115-135, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Valter Di Giacinto & Marcello Pagnini, 2008. "Agglomeration within and between regions: Two econometric based indicators," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 674, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    2. repec:spr:annopr:v:246:y:2016:i:1:d:10.1007_s10479-014-1704-5 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C25 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions; Probabilities
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)
    • R39 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Other

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