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Journal Articles Regional Science and Urban Economics Year : 2007

Concentration, Agglomeration and the Size of Plants


This paper investigates whether the geographic distribution of manufacturing activities depends on the size of plants. Using Italian data, we find, as in Kim [Kim, S., 1995. Expansion of markets and the geographic concentration of economic activities: the trends in U.S. regional manufacturing structure, 1860-1987, Quarterly Journal of Economics 110 (4), 881-908.], Holmes and Stevens [Holmes, T.J., and Stevens, J.J., 2002. Geographic concentration and establishment scale, Review of Economics and Statistics 84, 682-690.], and Holmes and Stevens [Holmes, T.J. and Stevens, J.J., 2004. Spatial distribution of economic activities in North America, in: J.V. Henderson and J.F. Thisse, eds., Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, Vol.4, (Elsevier-North Holland, Amsterdam).], that large plants are more concentrated than small plants. However, considering distance-based patterns via spatial auto-correlation, we find that small establishments actually exhibit a greater tendency to be located in adjacent areas. These apparently contradictory findings raise a measurement issue regarding co-location externalities and suggest that large plants are more likely to cluster within narrow geographical units (concentration), while small establishments would rather co-locate within wider distance-based clusters (agglomeration). This picture is consistent with different size plants engaging in different transport-intensive activities.

Dates and versions

halshs-00754253 , version 1 (20-11-2012)



Miren Lafourcade, Giordano Mion. Concentration, Agglomeration and the Size of Plants. Regional Science and Urban Economics, 2007, 37 (1), pp.46-68. ⟨10.1016/j.regsciurbeco.2006.04.004⟩. ⟨halshs-00754253⟩
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