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 2: Space, Growth and Development

Roberta Capello


Roberta Capello 2.1 Economics and space After 50 years of its existence, regional economics embraces a large number of approaches, theories and models for the interpretation of location choices and regional development trajectories. An increasing interpretative power characterizes the different models and theories once a historical perspective is assumed. The increasing interpretative capacity of the theoretical approaches can be attributed – among other factors – to the changes in the way space is inserted into the theoretical models. The aim of this chapter is to revisit – in a historical perspective – the different theoretical contributions, highlighting the evolution in the conceptualization of space, the different interpretations of growth so far provided by the different approaches, and the distinction between growth and development theories. Economic activity arises, grows and develops in space. Firms, and economic actors in general, choose their locations in the same way as they choose their production factors and their technology. Productive resources are distributed unevenly in space: they are frequently concentrated in specific places (regions or cities) while they are entirely or partly non-existent in others. Quantitative and qualitative imbalances in the geographical distribution of resources and economic activities generate different factor remunerations, different levels of wealth and well-being, and different degrees of control over local development. The problem of factor allocation – which economists have conventionally treated as being the efficient allocation of the factors among various types of production – is more complex than this, in fact; and it is so...

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