Table of Contents

Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Economic Geography

Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Economic Geography

Handbooks of Research Methods and Applications series

Edited by Charlie Karlsson, Martin Andersson and Therese Norman

The main purpose of this Handbook is to provide overviews and assessments of the state-of-the-art regarding research methods, approaches and applications central to economic geography. The chapters are written by distinguished researchers from a variety of scholarly traditions and with a background in different academic disciplines including economics, economic, human and cultural geography, and economic history. The resulting handbook covers a broad spectrum of methodologies and approaches applicable in analyses pertaining to the geography of economic activities and economic outcomes.

Chapter 2: Spatial computable general equilibrium analysis

Johannes Bröcker

Subjects: economics and finance, regional economics, geography, economic geography, research methods in geography, research methods, research methods in economics, research methods in geography, urban and regional studies, regional economics, research methods in urban and regional studies


Computable general equilibrium (CGE) analysis, also called applied general equilibrium analysis, is a computational method to study quantitatively the impact of exogenous changes, so-called ‘shocks’, in an economy on a wide range of variables of interest such as prices, quantities of consumption, production and trade, and – most importantly – on welfare. It has its roots in the theory of general equilibrium invented by Léon Walras and worked out mathematically by Gérard Debreu, Kenneth Arrow, Lionel McKenzie and others. The basic idea of this theory is that firms and households buy or sell goods and factors on markets that clear through flexible prices. Firms choose input and output quantities such that they maximize profits; households maximize utility subject to their respective budget constraints. In the standard model version, competition is assumed to be perfect: firms and households are price takers. The model is ‘real’ in the sense that prices are relative prices, measured in terms of an arbitrarily chosen numéraire. Money and banks are absent. The model is ‘general’, meaning that, for a closed economy, all market interactions between all agents of the economy are simultaneously taken account of. This is done in a consistent way: what an agent sells is bought by some other agent, and incomes or revenues received by any agent equal the expenditures of the respective agent.

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