martes, 22 de noviembre de 2011

Lectura 4: Economy Geography

Yuko Aoyama
Clark University
Economic Geography Journal

Economic geography is the study of the location, distribution and spatial organization of economic activities across the world. The subject matter investigated is strongly influenced by the researcher's methodological approach. Neoclassical location theorists, following in the tradition of Alfred Weber, tend to focus on industrial location and use quantitative methods. Since the 1970s, two broad reactions against neoclassical approaches have significantly changed the discipline: Marxist political economy, growing out of the work of David Harvey; and the new economic geography which takes into account social, cultural, and institutional factors in the spatial economy.

Economic geography is usually regarded as a subfield of the discipline of geography, although recently economists such as Paul Krugman and Jeffrey Sachs have pursued interests that can be considered part of economic geography. Krugman has gone so far as to call his application of spatial thinking to international trade theory the "new economic geography", which directly competes with an approach within the discipline of geography that is also called "new economic geography". The name geographical economics has been suggested as an alternative.

Given the variety of approaches, economic geography has taken to many different subject matters, including: the location of industries, economies of agglomeration (also known as "linkages"), transportation, international trade and development, real estate, gentrification, ethnic economies, gendered economies, core-periphery theory, the economics of urban form, the relationship between the environment and the economy (tying into a long history of geographers studying culture-environment interaction), and globalization. This list is by no means exhaustive.

Approaches to study
As the economic geography is a very broad discipline with economic geographers using many different methodologies in the study of economic phenomena in the world some distinct approaches to study have evolved over time:

Theoretical economic Geography focuses on building theories about spatial arrangement and distribution of economic activities.

Regional economic geography examines the economic conditions of particular regions or countries of the world. It deals with economic regionalization and local economic development as well.

Historical economic geography examines history and the development of spatial economic structure. Using historical data it examines how the centers of population and economic activity shift, what patterns of regional specialization and localization evolved over time and what factors explain these changes.

Critical economic geography is approach from the point of view of contemporary critical geography and its philosophy. Behavioral economic geography which examines the cognitive processes underlying spatial reasoning, locational decision making, and behavior of firms and individuals

Economic geography is a regional system of human economic activity to central to a discipline. It is an important anthropogeography branch disciplines, Include economic activities of position, space combination types and developing process, etc. To production as the main body of the human economic activities , Include production, exchange, distribution and consumption of the whole process, is by the material flow, commodity flow, population flow and information flow the rural and urban residential areas, transportation site, commercial service facilities and finance and other economic center link together and consisting of a economic activity system . This series of economic activities are in specific areas, therefore, with the regional for unit research world, regional economic activities of the system and its developmental process, and become the economic geography research the special field.

History of economic geography

The history of economic geography was influenced by many theories arising, mainly, from economics and geographical sciences.

First traces of the study of spatial aspects of economic activities can be found in seven Chinese maps of the State of Qin dating to the 4th century BC. Ancient writings can be attributed to the Greek geographer Strabo's Geographika compiled almost 2000 years ago. As the science of cartography developed, geographers illuminated many aspects used today in the field; maps created by different European powers described the resources likely to be found in American, African, and Asian territories. The earliest travel journals included descriptions of the native peoples, the climate, the landscape, and the productivity of various locations. These early accounts encouraged the development of transcontinental trade patterns and ushered in the era of mercantilism.

During the period known in geography as environmental determinism notable (though later much criticized) influence came from Ellsworth Huntington and his theory of climatic determinism.

Valuable contributions came from location theorists such as Johann Heinrich von Thünen or Alfred Weber. Other influential theories were Walter Christaller's Central place theory, the theory of core and periphery.

Fred K. Schaefer's article Exceptionalism in geography: A Methodological Examination published in American journal Annals (Association of American Geographers) and his critique of regionalism had a big impact on economic geography. The article became a rallying point for the younger generation of economic geographers who were intent on reinventing the discipline as a science. Quantitative methods became prevailing in research. Well-known economic geographers of this period are William Garrison, Brian Berry, Waldo Tobler, Peter Haggett, William Bunge and others.

Contemporary economic geographers tend to specialize in areas such as location theory and spatial analysis (with the help of geographic information systems), market research, geography of transportation, land or real estate price evaluation, regional and global development, planning, Internet geography, innovation, social networks and others.

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