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Agglomeration Index Towards a New Measure of Urban Concentration

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  • Uchida, Hirotsugu
  • Nelson, Andrew

Abstract

A common challenge in analyzing urbanization is the data. The United Nations (UN) compiles information on urbanization (urban population and its share of total national population) that is reported by various countries but there is no standardized definition of ‘urban’, resulting in inconsistencies. This situation is particularly troublesome if one wishes to conduct a cross-country analysis or determine the aggregate urbanization status of the regions (such as Asia or Latin America) and the world. This paper proposes an alternative to the UN measure of urban concentration that we call an agglomeration index. It is based on three factors: Population density, The population of a ‘large’ city centre and Travel time to that large city centre. The main objective in constructing this new measure is to provide a globally consistent definition of settlement concentration in order to conduct cross-country comparative and aggregated analyses. As an accessible measure of economic density, the agglomeration index lends itself to the study of concepts such as agglomeration rents in urban areas, the ‘thickness’ of a market, and the travel distance to such a market with many workers and consumers. With anticipated advances in remote sensing technology and geo-coded data analysis tools, the agglomeration index can be further refined to address some of the caveats currently associated with it.

Suggested Citation

  • Uchida, Hirotsugu & Nelson, Andrew, 2010. "Agglomeration Index Towards a New Measure of Urban Concentration," WIDER Working Paper Series 029, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  • Handle: RePEc:unu:wpaper:wp2010-29
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    1. J. Vernon Henderson, 2000. "The Effects of Urban Concentration on Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 7503, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    3. Henderson, Vernon, 2003. "The Urbanization Process and Economic Growth: The So-What Question," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 8(1), pages 47-71, March.
    4. Alberto F. Ades & Edward L. Glaeser, 1995. "Trade and Circuses: Explaining Urban Giants," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(1), pages 195-227.
    5. Wheaton, William C & Shishido, Hisanobu, 1981. "Urban Concentration, Agglomeration Economies, and the Level of Economic Development," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(1), pages 17-30, October.
    6. Rosen, Kenneth T. & Resnick, Mitchel, 1980. "The size distribution of cities: An examination of the Pareto law and primacy," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 165-186, September.
    7. Chomitz, Kenneth M. & Buys, Piet & Thomas, Timothy S., 2005. "Quantifying the rural-urban gradient in Latin America and the Caribbean," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3634, The World Bank.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gallemore, Caleb & Jespersen, Kristjan, 2016. "Transnational Markets for Sustainable Development Governance: The Case of REDD+," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 79-94.
    2. Catherine Ragasa & Jennifer Golan, 2014. "The role of rural producer organizations for agricultural service provision in fragile states," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 45(5), pages 537-553, September.
    3. De Pinto, Alessandro & Li, Man & Haruna, Akiko & Hyman, Glenn Graham & Martinez, Mario Andrés Londoño & Creamer, Bernardo & Kwon, Ho-Young & Garcia, Jhon Brayan Valencia & Tapasco, Jeimar & Martinez, , 2016. "Low Emission Development Strategies in Agriculture. An Agriculture, Forestry, and Other Land Uses (AFOLU) Perspective," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 180-203.
    4. Nga Thi Viet Nguyen & Felipe F. Dizon, 2017. "The Geography of Welfare in Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, and Togo," World Bank Other Operational Studies 27994, The World Bank.
    5. Andre Lemelin & Fernando Rubiera-Morollón & Ana Gómez-Loscos, 2016. "Measuring Urban Agglomeration: A Refoundation of the Mean City-Population Size Index," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 125(2), pages 589-612, January.
    6. Ajay Sharma & S. Chandrashekar, 2014. "Urbanization and Spatial Patterns of Internal Migration in India," Working Papers id:5894, eSocialSciences.
    7. repec:unu:wpaper:wp2012-084 is not listed on IDEAS

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    Keywords

    agglomeration index; urbanization; accessibility map; cost surface;

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