Handbook of Regional Growth and Development Theories
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Handbook of Regional Growth and Development Theories

Edited by Roberta Capello and Peter Nijkamp

Regional economics – an established discipline for several decades – has gone through a rapid pace of change in the past decade and several new perspectives have emerged. At the same time the methodology has shown surprising development. This volume brings together contributions looking at new pathways in regional economics, written by many well-known international scholars. The most advanced theories, measurement methods and policy issues in regional growth are given in-depth treatment.
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Chapter 16: Measuring Agglomeration

Ryohei Nakamura and Catherine J. Morrison Paul


Ryohei Nakamura and Catherine J. Morrison Paul 16.1 Introduction The existence of agglomeration economies is crucial both for explaining the size and distribution of modern cities and for understanding their growth and development. Agglomeration economies are also important policy issues for regional municipalities and national governments, because they engender industrial clustering. Academic studies of regional clustering typically focus on measuring the extent of agglomeration and its associated economies, or determining the mechanisms underlying, and the effects of, agglomeration economies. In this chapter we will focus on the former, with some overview of the latter. Before discussing the measurement of agglomeration, it is necessary to define economic agglomeration. The term ‘agglomeration’ is often used interchangeably with ‘specialization’ or ‘concentration’. Brülhart (1998, p. 776), however, suggests that specialization and agglomeration involve immobile and mobile factors, respectively.1 That is, specialization refers to industrial composition in a specific region in which some industries are agglomerated compared to their national counterparts, which is a relative rather than an absolute measurement of agglomeration. In turn, agglomeration typically refers to spatial concentration of economic activity in a limited area, while (spatial) concentration often applies to the spatial distribution of specific industries. For example, the food industry is relatively evenly distributed among regions while the textile industry tends to be concentrated in particular regions.2 In this chapter we will consider agglomeration to be inclusive of both specialization and concentration. We will focus on the measurement of economic agglomeration in the context of the...

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