Katherine Eriksson, Zach Ward, 06 August 2018

Those opposed to immigration often contend that immigrants are slow to assimilate. This column takes a longer-term view of assimilation by looking at the degree of ethnic spatial segregation in the US during and after the Age of Mass Migration. New methods and newly digitised data suggest that segregation in the US between 1850 and 1940 was both higher and more widespread than previously thought. However, despite slow rates of spatial assimilation, immigrants tend to assimilate culturally at a fast rate. 

Gregory Clark, Neil Cummins, 30 July 2018

Northern England is now less educated and less productive than the south. This north-south divide is often characterised by policymakers as evidence of market failure. This column uses surname distributions to show that the northern decline can instead be explained by persistent outmigration of talent from the north. People of northern origin perform as well on average as those of southern origin. Talented northerners, however, are now mainly located in the south, where they are an economic elite.

Pauline Charnoz, Claire Lelarge, Corentin Trevien, 22 April 2018

Research has shown that lower communication costs can act as a centralising force, prompting workers tend to rely more on the help of others and to specialise on a narrower set of tasks. This column reveals how reduced travel times resulting from a new high-speed rail transport in France fostered functional specialisation across different units of firms and greater centralisation. The findings highlight the mechanisms determining the level and distribution of productivity in an economy, and their redistributive impact both between and within firms

Susanne Frick, Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, 20 October 2017

Big cities have historically been seen as an important prerequisite for a country’s economic growth. In recent decades, however, developing countries have rapidly urbanised, and large cities are increasingly found in relatively poor countries. This column uses a new dataset to revisit the relationship between city size and economic growth. It finds that relatively small cities (with populations under three million) have been more conducive to economic growth, while very large cities are only growth-enhancing in countries with a very large urban population.

Toshihiro Okubo, Eiichi Tomiura, 02 January 2017

The core-periphery gap raises important questions for economic geography. Using Japanese data, this column examines firms’ decision to separate non-production activities from production plant facilities. Large plants, plants which intensively purchase materials, and plants located further from the core are more likely to have separate corporate headquarters, though the magnitude of this effect is small. Small-sized plants appear to be especially vulnerable to remoteness from urban cores.

Stephen Redding, Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 27 October 2016

Economic geography has typically focused on stylised settings. This column surveys a recent strand of literature that has developed quantitative models of the spatial distribution of economic activity. This ‘quantitative spatial economics’ literature has produced important methodological and theoretical insights that clarify earlier results in stylised settings. The emerging field stands to contribute substantially to economic and public ‘place-based policies’.

Chris Forman, Avi Goldfarb, Shane Greenstein, 23 May 2014

The diffusion of the internet has had varying effects on the location of economic activity, leading to both increases and decreases in geographic concentration. This column presents evidence that the internet worked against increasing concentration in invention. This relationship is particularly strong for inventions with more than one inventor, and when inventors live in different cities.

Hiroyasu Inoue, Kentaro Nakajima, Yukiko Saito, 25 October 2013

Distance matters – in trade, and in knowledge creation. Policies encouraging industrial clustering rely on this notion. This column presents evidence that geographic distance is a significant impediment to inter-establishment research relationships in Japan. This friction persists over decades, suggesting that advances in communication technology are no substitute for face-to-face interaction.

Ernesto Talvi, Ignacio Munyo, 27 October 2011

The global crisis crippled advanced economies, but it also freed up financial resources that flooded emerging markets. This column introduces an index to identify the post-crisis winners and losers, digging into the causes of the new economic geography and exploring the vulnerability of emerging economies to a recurrence of a Lehman-type virus.

Sergey Lychagin, John Van Reenen, Margaret Slade, Joris Pinkse, 25 October 2010

Why do local policymakers fight so hard to attract research and development labs to their area? This column provides a possible explanation. Using patent data, it finds a strong link between R&D and growth caused by knowledge spillovers between firms.

Jota Ishikawa, 31 January 2009

This column reflects on the Nobel Prize awarded to Paul Krugman, whose solo win surprised some. It comments on the relevance of Krugman’s contributions to new trade theory and new economic geography. The latter have been of particular interest to European economists.

Marius Brülhart, 07 January 2009

Paul Krugman suggests that his Nobel-prize-winning “core-periphery” model was perhaps more relevant a century ago than today. This appears to be true in terms of overall manufacturing concentrations in Europe and North America, which are unravelling. Large-scale agglomeration forces, however, are alive and well in the developing world, as are localised sectoral clustering phenomena in industrialised countries.

Pierre-Philippe Combes, Miren Lafourcade, Jacques-François Thisse, Jean-Claude Toutain, 05 December 2008

This column traces the economic evolution of France’s regions over the last 140 years to test the predictions of new economy geography. Both manufacturing and services experienced a bell-shaped curve of spatial development, in which spatial concentration initially increased and then decreased. While transport costs played a key role, positive spillovers are an increasingly important source of agglomeration gains.

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