Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Economic Geography
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Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Economic Geography

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.
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Chapter 12: Unity in variety? Agglomeration economics beyond the specialization–diversity controversy

Frank van Oort


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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