Edited by Roberta Capello and Peter Nijkamp
Chapter 2: Space, Growth and Development
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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