The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Regional Development, Geography of

  • Jeffrey D. Sachs
  • Gordon C. McCord
Reference work entry


New theoretical work on spatial concentration of industry – particularly the ‘new economic geography’ – has significantly helped our understanding why some regions develop more than others, why cities arise and where they are located. However, this work rarely incorporates Adam Smith’s observation that spatial differences in economic activity also reflect variations in physical geography, which make some places more productive than others at particular times; nor has it accommodated regional development policy – the use of economic incentives to attract industry to particular locations. A full theory of regional development would integrate theories of agglomeration economies with physical geography and with public economics.


Agglomeration Agricultural productivity Backward and forward linkages Cities Climate Clusters Coastal proximity Comparative advantage Competitive advantage Complementarities Core–periphery model Demand smoothing Foreign direct investment Geography and economic development Growth poles Human capital accumulation Industrial policy Knowledge spillovers Learning region Linkages Location choice Monopolistic competition New economic geography Nutrition and development Preferential attachment Regional development Returns to scale Search costs Spatial concentration Special Economic Zones (China) Transport costs 

JEL Classification

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffrey D. Sachs
    • 1
  • Gordon C. McCord
    • 1
  1. 1.