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Optimal agglomeration and regional policy

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  • Jens Suedekum

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  • Michael Pflueger

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Abstract

This paper studies the social desirability of agglomeration and the efficiency arguments for regional policy in a simple, analytically solvable ‘new economic geography’ model with two trade integrating regions. The location pattern emerging as market equilibrium is ?-shaped, featuring dispersion of firms both at high and low trade costs and stable equilibria with partial agglomeration of firms in addition to core periphery equilibria for intermediate levels of trade costs. Our central finding is that the market equilibrium is characterised by over-agglomeration for high trade costs and under-agglomeration for low trade costs. For an intermediate level of trade costs, the market equilibrium yields the socially optimal degree of agglomeration. An important implication of this result is that, on efficiency grounds, regional policy should foster the dispersion of firms for a range of high trade costs only, but agglomeration for a range of low trade costs. Hence, regional policies, such as those pursued by the European Union (which are aimed at fostering dispersion in general), is counterproductive when trade integration is deep enough JEL-Classification: F12, F15, F22, R12, R50 Keywords: economic geography, regional policy, optimal agglomeration, welfare

Suggested Citation

  • Jens Suedekum & Michael Pflueger, 2004. "Optimal agglomeration and regional policy," ERSA conference papers ersa04p341, European Regional Science Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa04p341
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    File URL: http://www-sre.wu.ac.at/ersa/ersaconfs/ersa04/PDF/341.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Rikard Forslid & Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano, 2003. "An analytically solvable core-periphery model," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(3), pages 229-240, July.
    2. Paul Krugman & Anthony J. Venables, 1995. "Globalization and the Inequality of Nations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(4), pages 857-880.
    3. Masahisa Fujita & Paul Krugman & Anthony J. Venables, 2001. "The Spatial Economy: Cities, Regions, and International Trade," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262561476, January.
    4. repec:hhs:iuiwop:430 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Flam, Harry & Helpman, Elhanan, 1987. "Industrial policy under monopolistic competition," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1-2), pages 79-102, February.
    6. Forslid, Rikard, 1999. "Agglomeration with Human and Physical Capital: an Analytically Solvable Case," CEPR Discussion Papers 2102, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)
    • R50 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - General

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