A Treatise on the Geographical Scale of Agglomeration Externalities and the Modifiable Areal Unit Problem

45 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2008

See all articles by Martijn J. Burger

Martijn J. Burger

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Erasmus School of Economics (ESE); Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM)

Frank G. van Oort

University of Utrecht

Bert van der Knaap

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR)

Abstract

The modifiable areal unit problem (MAUP) refers to the sensitivity of statistical research results to the initial spatial nomenclature used. Despite a substantial literature in the related field of geography on the potential influence of the MAUP, the urban economic modeling tradition has not paid much attention to this issue. In this article, we test to what extent the MAUP moderates the effect of agglomeration externalities on areal sectoral employment growth by varying the initial geographical scale of analysis. Using spatial cross-regressive modeling in which we account for spatial spillover effects of agglomeration externalities, we find different effects of agglomeration forces across geographical scales. As the MAUP is a theoretical as well as a methodological problem, research should not only work with proper statistical specifications of spatial agglomeration models incorporating different geographical scales, but also relate this more explicitly to hypotheses concerning the geographical scale at which agglomeration externalities operate.

Keywords: agglomeration externalities, employment growth, spatial econometrics, MAUP

JEL Classification: M13, O32, M

Suggested Citation

Burger, Martijn J. and van Oort, Frank and van der Knaap, Bert, A Treatise on the Geographical Scale of Agglomeration Externalities and the Modifiable Areal Unit Problem. ERIM Report Series Reference No. ERS-2008-076-ORG , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1304670

Martijn J. Burger (Contact Author)

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) ( email )

Burg. Oudlaan 50
Rotterdam, NL 3062 PA
Netherlands

Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands

Frank Van Oort

University of Utrecht ( email )

Vredenburg 138
NL-3508 TC Utrecht, 3511 BG
Netherlands

Bert Van der Knaap

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) ( email )

Burgemeester Oudlaan 50
3000 DR Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland 3062PA
Netherlands

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