The Rise and Fall of Spatial Inequalities in France: A Long-Run Perspective

33 Pages Posted: 18 Dec 2008

See all articles by Pierre-Philippe Combes

Pierre-Philippe Combes

Université de Lyon; Sciences Po - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Miren Lafourcade

Paris School of Economics (PSE); University of Paris- Sud 11

Jacques-François Thisse

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Jean-Claude Toutain

University of Angers - French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS); Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne

Date Written: October 2008

Abstract

This paper uses a unique database that provides value-added, employment, and population levels for the entire set of French departments for the years 1860, 1930, and 2000. These data cover three sectors: agriculture, manufacturing, and services. This allows us to study the evolution of spatial inequalities within France and to test the empirical relevance of economic geography predictions over the long run. The evidence confirms the existence of a bell-shaped evolution of the spatial concentration of manufacturing and services. In contrast, labor productivity has been converging across departments. Last, our study also confirms the presence of strong agglomeration economies during the full time-period. Market potential during the first sub-period (1860-1930), and higher education during the second (1930-2000), together with sectoral diversity, account for the spatial distribution of these gains.

Keywords: agglomeration economies, economic geography, economic history, human capital

JEL Classification: N93, N94, O18, R12

Suggested Citation

Combes, Pierre-Philippe and Lafourcade, Miren and Thisse, Jacques-François and Toutain, Jean-Claude, The Rise and Fall of Spatial Inequalities in France: A Long-Run Perspective (October 2008). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP7017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1311141

Pierre-Philippe Combes (Contact Author)

Université de Lyon ( email )

92 Rue Pasteur
Lyon, 69007
France

Sciences Po - Department of Economics ( email )

28, rue des Saints peres
Paris, 75007
France

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.gate.cnrs.fr/ppcombes

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Miren Lafourcade

Paris School of Economics (PSE)

48 Boulevard Jourdan
Paris, 75014 75014
France

University of Paris- Sud 11 ( email )

15 Rue Georges Clemenceau
Orsay, 91400
France

Jacques-François Thisse

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) ( email )

Place des Doyens 1
Louvain-la-Neuve, 1348
Belgium

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Jean-Claude Toutain

University of Angers - French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) ( email )

3, rue Michel-Ange
Paris cedex 16, 75794
France

Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne

17, rue de la Sorbonne
Paris, IL 75005
France

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