Handbooks of Research Methods and Applications series
Edited by Charlie Karlsson, Martin Andersson and Therese Norman
Chapter 12: Unity in variety? Agglomeration economics beyond the specialization–diversity controversy
An ever-burgeoning literature is focused on studying the causes, magnitude and (policy) consequences of agglomeration economies in relation to urban and regional growth. However, this rise of agglomeration economies in economic and geographical studies has met substantial criticism (McCann and Van Oort, 2009). Some observers have argued that the modern treatment of agglomeration economies and regional growth represents a rediscovery by economists of well-rehearsed concepts and ideas with a long tradition in economic geography. Several criticisms of the monopolistic modelling logic underpinning new economic geography have come from an economic geography school of thought as well as both orthodox and heterodox schools of economic thought. By contrast, advocates of relatively new economic approaches, such as institutional economics and evolutionary economic geography, argue that their analyses provide insights into spatial economic phenomena that were previously unobservable with the existing analytical frameworks and toolkits.
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