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Economic Growth in a Central Place System

  • Martin J. Beckmann
Part of the Publications of the Egon-Sohmen-Foundation book series (EGON-SOHMEN)

Abstract

To study economic growth in the urban system of advanced countries under the heading of central place systems may seem to be taking an unnecessarily narrow view. But, as I shall argue, it is a rather natural approach provided central places are interpreted in a sufficiently broad sense. Observe that the division of labor (and thus the location of economic activities) in a spatial economy is governed by two radically different principles. First, by comparative advantage based on endowment with immobile regional resources — agricultural soil, mineral and energy resource deposits, climate — and even technical and organizational knowledge embodied in local traditions. The second principle is the trade-off between transportation costs and economies of scale. Both principles are needed in an analysis of spatial growth processes, the first giving rise mainly to ad hoc explanations to be considered only in passing here. The focus of this paper is on the returns-to-scale aspects. It is these, after all, that give rise to an urban system in the first place.

Keywords

Transportation Cost Technical Change Central Place Urban System Market Area 
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Bibliography

  1. Beckmann, M. 1958. “City Hierarchies and the Distribution of City Size.” Economic Development and Cultural Change 6(3):243–248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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  3. Lösch, A. 1954. The Economics of Location. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Thünen, J.H. 1824. Der isolirte Staat in Beziehung auf Nationalökonomie und Landwirthschaft. Stuttgart: Gustav Fischer (reprint 1966).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin · Heidelberg 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin J. Beckmann

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