The Evolution of Spatial Economics: From Thünen to the New Economic Geography

Abstract

This paper presents a review of the evolution of spatial economics over the past two centuries. The focus is on the evolution of what I consider to be the most fundamental theory of spatial economics, i.e., general location theory. The paper starts with a review of Thünen (1826), and ends with a review of the New Economic Geography initiated by Paul Krugman in the early 1990s. It is shown that the study of general location theory has been successful at shedding light on many important features of actual spatial economies.

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Correspondence to Masahisa Fujita.

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This paper is based on my presidential address delivered to the Japanese Economic Association Meeting at Kyoto University 7 June 2009. I am grateful to an anonymous referee, Marcus Berliant and Jacques Thisse for valuable comments on earlier versions of the paper. This research work has been supported by Grants Aid for Scientific Research A 21243021.

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Fujita, M. The Evolution of Spatial Economics: From Thünen to the New Economic Geography. JER 61, 1–32 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-5876.2009.00504.x

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