Schools of Thought on Economic Geography, Institutions, and Development

  • Philip McCann
Reference work entry


This chapter reviews some of major thematic approaches which have characterized urban and regional research over recent decades. Three broad schools of research are discussed, namely, the new economic geography, the new urban agenda, and the evolutionary and institutional school. The major assumptions underlying each of the schools of thought are outlined, and the broad areas of agreement and disagreement between the three schools of thought are highlighted. The changing economic realities on the ground in many regions, whereby the previously dominant large cities are no longer the key drivers of economic growth, pose major conceptual, analytical, and empirical challenges to all three of these schools of thought, schools which had emerged precisely during the period when major cities were reemerging as the drivers of growth.


Social Capital Trade Cost Economic Geography Distance Cost Technological Profile 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Aghion P, Howitt P (1992) A model of growth through creative destruction. Econometrica 60:323–351CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barca F, McCann P, Rodriguez-Pose A (2012) The case for regional development intervention: place-based versus place-neutral approaches. J Reg Sci 52(1):134–152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Boschma RA (2005) Proximity and innovation: a critical assessment. Reg Stud 39(1):61–74CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Boschma RA, Iammarino S (2009) Related variety, trade linkages and regional growth. Econ Geograph 85(3):289–311CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bosker M, Garretsen JH (2010) Trade costs in empirical new economic geography. Pap Reg Sci 89(3):485–511CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. de Groot HLF, Poot J, Smit M (2009) Agglomeration externalities, innovation and regional growth: theoretical perspectives and meta-analysis. In: Cappello R, Nijkamp P (eds) Handbook of regional growth and development theories. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, pp 256–281Google Scholar
  7. Doloreux D, Shearmur R (2012) Collaboration, information and the geography of innovation in knowledge intensive business services. J Econ Geograph, 12(1):79–105CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Duranton G, Overman HG (2005) Testing for localization using micro-geographic data. Rev Econ Stud 72(4):1077–1106CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Duranton G, Puga D (2001) Nursery cities: urban diversity, process innovation, and the life cycle of products. Am Econ Rev 91(5):1454–1477CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Ellison G, Glaeser EL, Kerr WR (2010) What causes industry agglomeration? Evidence from coagglomeration patterns. Am Econ Rev 100(3):1195–1213CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fingleton B, Fischer MM (2010) Neoclassical theory versus new economic geography: competing explanations of cross-regional variation in economic development. Ann Reg Sci 44(3):467–491CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Florida R (2002) The rise of the creative class. Basic Books, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  13. Frenken K, Van Oort FG, Verburg T (2007) Related variety, unrelated variety and regional economic growth. Reg Stud 41(5):685–697CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Fujita M, Krugman P, Venables AJ (1999) The spatial economy. MIT Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  15. Glaeser EL (2011) Triumph of the city: how our greatest invention makes us richer, smarter, greener, healthier, and happier. The Penguin Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  16. Glaeser EL, Gottlieb JD (2009) The wealth of cities: agglomeration economies and spatial equilibrium in the United States. J Econ Lit 47(4):983–1028CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Glaeser EL, Kallal HD, Scheinkman JA, Shleifer A (1992) Growth in cities. J Polit Econ 100(6):1126–1152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Glaeser EL, Kolko J, Saiz A (2001) Consumer city. J Econ Geograph 1(1):27–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Guimarães P, Figueiredo O, Woodward D (2007) Measuring the localization of economic activity: a parametric approach. J Reg Sci 47(4):753–774CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Krugman P (1991) Increasing returns and economic geography. J Polit Econ 99(3):483–499CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Krugman P, Venables AJ (1995) Globalization and the inequality of nations. Q J Econ 110(4):857–880CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Lakatos I (1970) Falsification and the methodology of scientific research programmes. In: Lakatos I, Musgrave A (eds) Criticism and the growth of knowledge. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 91–196Google Scholar
  23. McCann P (2005) Transport costs and new economic geography. J Econ Geograph 5(3):305–318CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. McCann P (2007) Observational equivalence? Regional studies and regional science. Reg Stud 41(9):1209–1222CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. MGI (2011) Urban world: mapping the economic power of cities. McKinsey Global Institute.
  26. OECD (2009a) How regions grow: trends and analysis. Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, ParisGoogle Scholar
  27. OECD (2009b) Regions matter: economic recovery, innovation and sustainable growth. Organisation for Economic Growth and Development, ParisGoogle Scholar
  28. OECD (2011) Regional outlook 2011. Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, ParisGoogle Scholar
  29. Porter ME (1990) The competitive advantage of nations. Free Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  30. Putnam R (1993) Making democracy work: civic traditions in modern Italy. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  31. Putnam R (1996) Bowling alone: the collapse and revival of American community. Simon & Schuster, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  32. Redding SJ, Venables AJ (2004) Economic geography and international inequality. J Int Econ 62(1):53–82CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Saxenian A (1994) Regional advantage: culture and competition in silicon valley and route 128. Harvard University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  34. Shapiro JM (2006) Smart cities: quality of life, productivity, and the growth effects of human capital, Rev Econ Stat, 88(2):324–335CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Shearmur R, Polèse M (2007) Do local factors explain local employment growth? Evidence from Canada, 1971–2001. Reg Stud 41(4):453–471CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Stelder D (2005) Where do cities form? A geographical agglomeration model for Europe. J Reg Sci 45(4):657–679CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Westlund H (2009) Regions and the knowledge economy. Springer, Berlin/Heidelberg/New YorkGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economic GeographyUniversity of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations