Agglomeration Versus Product Variety: Implications for Regional Inequalities

14 Pages Posted: 19 Oct 2006

See all articles by Kristian Behrens

Kristian Behrens

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) - Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE); Université de Bourgogne - LATEC

Jacques-François Thisse

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

Abstract

We investigate how cross-country differences in firms' fixed set-up costs affect the trade-off between global efficiency and spatial equity. Our analysis reveals that the standard assumption of symmetry in set-up costs masks the existence of an interesting effect: the range of available varieties depends on the spatial distribution of firms. In such a setting, where the market outcome leads to excessive agglomeration in the symmetric case, a planner may opt for asymmetric set-up costs and even more agglomeration. We show that the planner will always favor lower set-up costs in the large country with more agglomeration when the consumer's marginal preference for variety is high, or with less agglomeration when the consumer's marginal preference for variety is low.

Suggested Citation

Behrens, Kristian and Thisse, Jacques-François, Agglomeration Versus Product Variety: Implications for Regional Inequalities. Journal of Regional Science, Vol. 46, No. 5, pp. 867-880, December 2006. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=938569 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9787.2006.00487.x

Kristian Behrens (Contact Author)

Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) - Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) ( email )

34 Voie du Roman Pays
B-1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, b-1348
Belgium

HOME PAGE: http://www.core.ucl.ac.be:16080/~behrens/

Université de Bourgogne - LATEC

Pôle d'Economie et de Gestion
21066 Dijon Cedex
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

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