Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography

April 6, 2018

# 18.16 Towards economically dynamic Special Economic Zones in emerging countries

Filed under: 2018 — Tags: , , , — T.Broekel @ 7:12 pm

Susanne A. Frick & Andrés Rodríguez-Pose & Michael D. Wong


Abstract: Despite a massive recent proliferation of Special Economic Zones (SEZs), there is virtually no quantitative research on what drives their dynamism. The aim of this paper is to address this gap and analyse the factors influencing SEZ performance – proxied by economic growth – in emerging countries. The paper relies on two novel datasets, using night-lights data to proxy for SEZ performance and containing a wide range of SEZ policy variables and characteristics across a large number of countries. The main results of the analysis indicate that a) zone growth is difficult to sustain over time; that b) trying to upgrade the technological component or value-added of the economy through SEZ policies is often challenging; and that c) zone size matters: larger zones have an advantage in terms of growth potential. Furthermore, country context significantly determines SEZ performance. Firms look for low cost locations, but in close proximity to large cities. Proximity to large markets as well as pre-existing industrialization also increase SEZ performance. In contrast, incentives and other program specific variables are highly context-specific and not structurally correlated with SEZ performance.


# 18.15 A woman’s touch? Female migration and economic development in the United States

Filed under: 2018 — Tags: , , , , , — T.Broekel @ 7:10 pm

Viola von Berlepsch & Andrés Rodríguez-Pose & Neil Lee


Abstract: Does the economic effect of immigrant women differ from that of immigrants in general? This paper examines if gender has influenced the short- and long-term economic impact of mass migration to the US, using Census microdata from 1880 and 1910. By means of ordinary least squares and instrumental variable estimations, the analysis shows that a greater concentration of immigrant women is significantly associated with lower levels of economic development in US counties. However, immigrant women also shaped economic development positively, albeit indirectly via their children. Communities with more children born to foreign mothers and that successfully managed to integrate female immigrants experienced greater economic growth than those dominated by children of foreign-born fathers or American-born parents.

January 18, 2018

# 18.07 Shooting Low or High: Do Countries Benefit from Entering Unrelated Activities?

Flávio L. Pinheiro & Aamena Alshamsi & Dominik Hartmann & Ron Boschma & César Hidalgo


It is well known that countries tend to diversify their exports by entering products that are related to their current exports. Yet this average behavior is not representative of every diversification path. In this paper, we introduce a method to identify periods when countries enter relatively more unrelated products. We analyze the economic diversification paths of 93 countries between 1970 and 2010 and find that countries enter unrelated products in only about 7.2% of all observations. Then, we show that countries enter more unrelated products when they are at an intermediate level of economic development, and when they have higher levels of human capital. Finally, we ask whether countries entering more unrelated products grow faster than those entering only related products. The data shows that countries that enter more unrelated activities experience an increase in short-term economic growth of 0.5% per annum compared to those with similar levels of income, human capital, capital stock per worker, and economic complexity.

January 6, 2018

# 18.03 Change in urban concentration and economic growth

Susanne A. Frick and Andrés Rodríguez-Pose


The paper investigates (1) the evolution of urban concentration from 1985 to 2010 in 68 countries around the world and (2) the extent to which the degree of urban concentration affects national economic growth. It aims to overcome the limitations of existing empirical literature by building a new urban population dataset that allows the construction of a set of Herfindahl-Hirschman-Indices which capture a country’s urban structure in a more nuanced way than the indicators used hitherto. We find that, contrary to the general perception, urban concentration levels have on average decreased or remained stable (depending on indicator). However, these averages camouflage diverging trends across countries. The results of the econometric analysis suggest that there is no uniform relationship between urban concentration and economic growth. Urban concentration is beneficial for economic growth in high-income countries, while this effect does not hold for developing countries. The results differ from previous analyses that generally underscore the benefits of urban concentration at low levels of economic development. The results are robust to accounting for reverse causality through IV analysis, using exogenous geographic factors as instruments.

September 23, 2017

# 17.25 Big or small cities? On city size and economic growth

Filed under: 2017 — Tags: , , — mattehartog @ 8:03 pm

Susanne A. Frick, Andrés Rodríguez-Pose


Policy-makers and academics frequently emphasize a positive link between city size and economic growth. The empirical literature on the relationship, however, is scarce and uses rough indicators for the size for a country’s cities, while ignoring factors that are increasingly considered to shape the relationship. In this paper, we employ a panel of 113 countries between 1980 and 2010 to explore whether (1) there are certain city sizes that are growth enhancing and (2) how additional factors highlighted in the literature impact the city size/growth relationship. The results suggest a non-linear relationship which is dependent on the country’s size. In contrast to the prevailing view that large cities are growth-inducing, for the majority of countries relatively small cities of up to 3 million inhabitants are more conducive to economic growth. A large share of the urban population in cities with more than 10 million inhabitants is only growth promoting in countries with an urban population of 28.5 million and more. In addition, the relationship is highly context dependent: a high share of industries that benefit from agglomeration economies, a well-developed urban infrastructure, and an adequate level of governance effectiveness allow countries to take advantage of agglomeration benefits from larger cities.

January 28, 2017

# 17.03 Does federal contracting spur development? Federal contracts, income, output, and jobs in US cities

Filed under: 2017 — Tags: , , , , , — mattehartog @ 7:36 pm

Michiel Gerritse and Andrés Rodríguez-Pose


Government contracts are frequently courted by firms and governments alike as a solution to generate more jobs, income, and economic growth. However, the development impact of government contracts remains controversial. This paper uses georeferenced data on United States (US) federal contracts, distinguishing between the location of the recipient and the location of performance, for the years 2005-2014 in order to assess the extent to which federal government contracting has contributed to job and wealth generation and economic growth in metropolitan areas of the US. The results of the analysis show that individuals living in cities with a higher share of contract spending per capita witnessed improvements in employment. Aggregate GDP per capita also rose in cities hosting the companies receiving the contracts. However, the effects – once reverse causality and spurious trends are controlled for using a fine-scale fixed effect strategy and instrumentation – are very small, raising reasonable questions about the viability of federal contracting as a vehicle for economic development.

December 11, 2015

# 15.35 Government quality and the economic returns of transport infrastructure investment in European regions

Riccardo Crescenzi, Marco Di Cataldo, Andrés Rodríguez-Pose


Transport infrastructure investment is a cornerstone of growth-promoting strategies. However, in the case of Europe the relevant literature is increasingly failing to find a clear link between infrastructure investment and economic performance. This may be a consequence of overlooking the role of government institutions. This paper assesses the connection between regional quality of government and the returns of different types of road infrastructure in EU regions during the period between 1995 and 2009. The results unveil a strong influence of regional quality of government on the economic returns of transport infrastructure. In weak institutional contexts, investments in motorways – the preferred option by local governments – yield significantly lower returns than the more humble but possibly more efficient secondary road. Government institutions also affect the returns of transport maintenance investment.

September 5, 2014

# 14.17 Innovation and Regional Growth in Mexico: 2000-2010

Filed under: 2014 — Tags: , , , , — mattehartog @ 3:05 pm

Andrés Rodríguez-Pose and Edna MaríaVillarreal Peralta


This paper looks at the factors driving regional growth in Mexico, paying special attention to the potentially growth-enhancing role of innovation and innovation policy. The analysis combines innovation variables with indicators linked to the formation of adequate social conditions for innovation (the social filter), and spillovers for 31 Mexican states and the Mexico City capital district (the Distrito Federal) during the period 2000-2010. The results indicate that regional economic growth across Mexican states stems from direct investment in R&D in areas with favorable social filters and which can benefit not only from knowledge spillovers, but also from being surrounded by rich neighbors with good social conditions. The results stress that, although Mexican innovation policy has been relatively well targeted in order to generate greater economic growth, its relatively modest size may have undermined the attainment of its main objectives.

December 29, 2013

# 13.27 Export diversification in the product space and regional growth: Evidence from Russia

Filed under: 2013 — Tags: , , — mattehartog @ 9:47 pm

Sergey Kadochnikov and Anna Fedyunina


This study investigates the relationship between export structure and economic growth in Russian regions. We hypothesize that it is not industry variety per se but the variety of related industries located relatively close to each other in the product space that significantly contributes to economic growth in Russian regions. The empirical analysis presented in the paper confirms that the density of the product space around the products for which a region had a comparative advantage determined the economic development in Russian regions in the 2003-2008 period. We conclude that the presence of a local related variety of industries in a region is one of the most important regional factors in economic development.

June 21, 2013

# 13.10 Export variety, technological content and economic performance: The case of Portugal

Filed under: 2013 — Tags: , , , , — mattehartog @ 4:15 pm

Francisco Rebelo, Ester Gomes da Silva


Although the analysis of the relationship between international trade and economic growth has an important tradition in the economic literature, the specific focus on a related matter, the link between export variety and economic growth, remains a relatively unexplored field of research. Recently, a few studies have approached this issue, adopting a neo-Schumpeterian framework. In line with this general frame of analysis, in this paper we investigate the impact of export variety on economic growth, cross-relating the variety dimension with technological upgrading. Cointegration econometric results based on the Portuguese experience over the past four decades (1967-2010) show that increased related variety has led to a significant growth bonus, but only in the case of technology advanced sectors. The impact of export variety on economic performance seems, therefore, to be conditioned by the technological intensity of the products involved.

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