Is the World's Economic Center of Gravity Already in Asia?

29 Pages Posted: 17 Sep 2006 Last revised: 11 Mar 2009

See all articles by Jean-Marie Grether

Jean-Marie Grether

University of Neuchatel - Institute for Economic and Regional Research (IRER)

Nicole A. Mathys

University of Neuchatel - Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences; Federal Office for Spatial Development

Date Written: August 15, 2008

Abstract

This paper proposes a simple measure of the World's Economic Center of Gravity (WECG) based on national GDP figures and the geographical location of the world's most important cities. This measure makes it possible to characterize the location of economic activity around the globe. It turns out that, over the 1975-2004 period, the WECG has shifted towards Asia, and the location of economic activity has become more evenly spread. On average, the distance to the WECG, which is highly correlated with the remoteness indicator frequently used in the trade gravity literature, has decreased more in Asian cities (-12%) and increased more in European cities ( 16%).

Keywords: Geographical location of economic activity, center of gravity, spatial imbalances

JEL Classification: F01

Suggested Citation

Grether, Jean-Marie and Mathys, Nicole Andréa, Is the World's Economic Center of Gravity Already in Asia? (August 15, 2008). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=930602 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.930602

Jean-Marie Grether (Contact Author)

University of Neuchatel - Institute for Economic and Regional Research (IRER) ( email )

Pierre-a-Mazel 7
Neuchatel, CH-2000
Switzerland
+41 32 718 13 56 (Phone)
+41 32 718 14 01 (Fax)

Nicole Andréa Mathys

University of Neuchatel - Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences ( email )

Neuchatel, 2000
Switzerland

Federal Office for Spatial Development ( email )

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