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The modifiable areal unit problem in regional economics


  • Tamás Dusek



There is a very well known fundamental problem in spatial data analysis namely that all results of quantitative methods are potencially influenced by the way of spatial delimitation. This problem is mostly called modifiable areal unit problem (MAUP). However, beside the rich tradition in the empirical spatial data analysis, the effect of MAUP on putting forward and testing a theory and the effect on model-building is an issue rarely investigated. The MAUP creates the need for the investigation of the connection between theories and data and the micro-macro dualism. My paper presents the epistemological background of the problem and gives illustrations of the negative consequences of ignoring them in regional macroeconomics.

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  • Tamás Dusek, 2005. "The modifiable areal unit problem in regional economics," ERSA conference papers ersa05p357, European Regional Science Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa05p357

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. S H Putman & S-H Chung, 1989. "Effects of spatial system design on spatial interaction models. 1: The spatial system definition problem," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 21(1), pages 27-46, January.
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    3. Giuseppe Arbia, 2001. "articles: Modelling the geography of economic activities on a continuous space," Papers in Regional Science, Springer;Regional Science Association International, vol. 80(4), pages 411-424.
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    8. S Openshaw, 1984. "Ecological Fallacies and the Analysis of Areal Census Data," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 16(1), pages 17-31, January.
    9. Stoker, Thomas M, 1993. "Empirical Approaches to the Problem of Aggregation Over Individuals," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(4), pages 1827-1874, December.
    10. 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.
    11. L Bach, 1981. "The problem of aggregation and distance for analyses of accessibility and access opportunity in location - allocation models," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 13(8), pages 955-978, August.
    12. 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.
    13. M Batty & P K Sikdar, 1982. "Spatial aggregation in gravity models: 4. Generalisations and large-scale applications," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 14(6), pages 795-822, June.
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