The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Regional Distribution of Economic Activity

  • Barry Moore
  • John Rhodes
Reference work entry


Our starting point for discussing the regional distribution of economic activity within nations is the recognition that economists interested in the emergence and persistence of economic disparities between regions have drawn heavily on theories relevant for understanding international economic relations between countries. There are, of course, important differences between regions and sovereign nation states, but they are often differences of degree rather than kind. Critically important for a region is its openness and interdependence with other regions. This arises because of the generally greater importance of trade to the region compared with the nation but also because of its greater dependence on investment brought in from other regions. Regions within a nation also share a common currency and this removes the possibility of currency adjustments. Inevitably this puts more weight on internal price flexibility and factor mobility between regions as means by which regions adjust to economic circumstances than is the case with nations. The mobility of labour and capital is greater between regions than countries and as we shall see this has been a major route by which regions adjust to change.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Armstrong, H., and J. Taylor. 1978. Regional economic policy. Oxford: Philip Allan.Google Scholar
  2. Borts, G. 1960. The equalization of returns and regional economic growth. Economic Journal 50: 319–347.Google Scholar
  3. Canning, D. 1985. The dynamics of regional wage adjustment. Cambridge, UK: Department of Applied Economics.Google Scholar
  4. Dixon, R.J., and A.P. Thirlwall. 1975. A model of regional growth rate differentials along Kaldorian lines. Oxford Economic Papers 27(2): 201–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Isard, W. 1960. Methods of regional analysis: An introduction to regional science. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  6. Kaldor, N. 1966. The causes of the slow rate of economic growth of the United Kingdom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Kaldor, N. 1970. The case for regional policies. Scottish Journal of Political Economy 17(3): 337–348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Moore, B., J. Rhodes, and P. Tyler. 1986. The effects of government regional economic policy. London: HMSO.Google Scholar
  9. Myrdal, G. 1957. Economic theory and underdeveloped regions. London: Duckworth.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barry Moore
    • 1
  • John Rhodes
    • 1
  1. 1.