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Modelling the Folk Theorem: A Spatial Cournot Model with Explicit Increasing Returns to Scale

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  • Sylvain Barde

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Abstract

This paper attempts to model directly the "folk theorem" of spatial economics, according to which increasing returns to scale are essential for understanding the geographical distributions of activity. The model uses the simple structure of most New Economic Geography papers, with two identical regions, a costlessly traded agricultural sector and a manufacturing sector subject to iceberg costs. This simple setting isolates IRS in manufacturing production function as the only potential agglomerating force. This implies that an unstable symmetric equilibrium means IRS cause agglomeration. The central result is that while a CRS manufacturing sector will always stay at the symmetric equilibrium, the presence of IRS in manufacturing causes the symmetric equilibrium to become unstable and agglomeration becomes the only long run equilibrium for the system.

Suggested Citation

  • Sylvain Barde, 2007. "Modelling the Folk Theorem: A Spatial Cournot Model with Explicit Increasing Returns to Scale," Studies in Economics 0701, School of Economics, University of Kent.
  • Handle: RePEc:ukc:ukcedp:0701
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Combes, Pierre-Philippe & Lafourcade, Miren, 2001. "Transport Cost Decline and Regional Inequalities: Evidence from France," CEPR Discussion Papers 2894, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    4. Mayer, Thierry, 2000. "Spatial Cournot competition and heterogeneous production costs across locations," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 325-352, May.
    5. Sylvain Barde, 2007. "Stable Partial Agglomeration in a New Economic Geography Model with Urban Frictions," Studies in Economics 0702, School of Economics, University of Kent.
    6. Gianmarco I. P. Ottaviano & Diego Puga, 1998. "Agglomeration in the Global Economy: A Survey of the 'New Economic Geography'," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(6), pages 707-731, August.
    7. H. Hanson, Gordon, 2005. "Market potential, increasing returns and geographic concentration," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 1-24, September.
    8. Gupta, Barnali & Pal, Debashis & Sarkar, Jyotirmoy, 1997. "Spatial Cournot competition and agglomeration in a model of location choice," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 261-282, June.
    9. 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.
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    13. Anderson, Simon P & Neven, Damien J, 1991. "Cournot Competition Yields Spatial Agglomeration," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 32(4), pages 793-808, November.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Agglomeration; increasing returns to scale; imperfect competition;

    JEL classification:

    • R10 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - General
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)
    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation

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