What Can Be Learned from Spatial Economics?

63 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2017

See all articles by Stef Proost

Stef Proost

KU Leuven - Department of Economics

Jacques-François Thisse

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

Date Written: July 17, 2017


Spatial economics aims to explain the location of economic activity. While the importance of the proximity to natural resources has declined considerably, distance and location have not disappeared from economic life. Recent work in spatial economics indicates that new forces, hitherto outweighed by natural factors, are shaping an economic landscape that, with its many barriers and large inequalities, is anything but flat. The location of economic activity is the outcome of a trade-off between different types of scale economies and costs generated by the transfer of people, goods, and information. This trade-off is used as a guide in our survey of the main developments in regional and urban economics, which refer to different spatial scales. The role of transport is discussed for each subfield. We briefly survey the ingredients that could be useful for a synthesis of regional and urban economics and conclude with general policy insights.

Keywords: location, region, city, transport, land, agglomeration

JEL Classification: F12; F20; F61; L13; R12; R14

Suggested Citation

Proost, Stef V. and Thisse, Jacques-François, What Can Be Learned from Spatial Economics? (July 17, 2017). Higher School of Economics Research Paper No. WP BRP 167/EC/2017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3003873 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3003873

Stef V. Proost

KU Leuven - Department of Economics ( email )

Leuven, B-3000
016 32 66 35 (Phone)
016 32 67 96 (Fax)

Jacques-François Thisse (Contact Author)

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) ( email )

Place des Doyens 1
Louvain-la-Neuve, 1348

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

United Kingdom

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