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Edited by Jeroen C.J.M. van den Bergh
Chapter 35: Environmental and Regional Economics
35 Environment and regional economics Pet er Nijkamp 1. Regional economics and environmental economics Regional economics - as an established discipline - dates back to the 1950s, when it was recognized that the economy does not operate in a wonderland of no geographical dimensions. Regional economics aims to study the spatial patterns and processes of human activity from an economic perspective. A search for linkages - theoretical, methodological or empirical between regional economics and environmental economics may start from two different though complementary departures. One may try to identify environmental aspects in spatial economic theories, models or applications. Alternatively, one may seek for clear spatial dimensions in existing environmental economic analyses. In the present chapter we shall adopt a blend of these two research explorations. The first section of this contribution sets out to present some main features of both regional and environmental economics with a view to identifying linkages between these two subdisciplines in economics. We start with regional economics, followed by environmental economics. Although the origin of regional economics dates back to the nineteenth century (mainly von Thunen) and the first part of the twentieth century (Weber, Hotelling, Christaller, Losch), the real genesis took place in the 1950s (see, for a historical survey, Paelinck and Nijkamp, 1975 and Ponsard, 1983). One of the pioneers in regional economics, Walter Isard, recognized that distance friction and transportation costs on the one hand and agglomeration economies on the other were largely responsible for the heterogeneity in location patterns of both firms...
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