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Environmental & Resource Economics

Fundamentals of Spatial Economics Workshop

A special pre-meeting workshop on the fundamentals of spatial economics was held on July 28, prior to the 2007 American Agricultural Economics Association (AAEA) joint meeting with the Western Agricultural Economics Association and the Canadian Agricultural Economics Society.

Economists in all of the applied economics disciplines who participate actively in the AAEA (resource, environmental, agricultural, marketing, agribusiness, consumer, and regional economics) have increasingly incorporated spatial dimensions into their research and teaching.

For example, resource economists have incorporated spatial considerations into their research by using a geographic information system to analyze the importance of space in natural resource development and conservation. Development economics, which traditionally focuses on macro models, is increasing its focus on regions within countries that are diverging from national economies; there is increasing interest to apply spatial economic analysis to regions within countries. 

The interest in, and need for, enhancement of spatial economics training among rural/regional economists is particularly strong. Rural/regional economics is inherently spatial and emerging literature on agglomeration economies and spatial externalities has a specific importance in the work of rural economists. This workshop provided an introduction to foundational work in spatial economics taught by leading economists from inside and outside the Land-Grant University System.

Many factors have led to a blurring of the lines between regional/spatial economics, international economics and trade, and resource economics. These include:

  • the emergence of the new growth theory and new economic geography;
  • the globalization of the economy and increasing importance of international economic development to rural economies; and
  • the recognition of the role of natural amenities in the growth or rural areas.


This convergence of interest and the development of spatial econometric methods have made the potential gains from collaboration and cross-fertilization across disciplines much greater. This workshop provided a rich environment in which new cross-disciplinary collaboration can be developed.

The primary target audience for this workshop included applied economists (faculty and graduate students) seeking to better incorporate empirically-testable, micro-foundations-consistent spatial economics into their research and teaching. The audience included economists working in the following AAEA economic disciplines:

  • resource;
  • environmental;
  • agricultural;
  • marketing;
  • agribusiness;
  • consumer;
  • international trade and development; and
  • rural/regional and community economics.


This workshop was intended to serve two particular needs of rural and regional economists within the agricultural economics profession. It sought to both:

  • provide an environment in which the new and established faculty in this discipline can redefine the scope and focus of their work to better incorporate spatial dimensions; and
  • address the need for disciplinary enrichment for many new “rural/regional economics” faculty.

For more information, contact Fen Hunt.


Workshop Program

8 a.m.    Spatial Economics: Introduction to Workshop
8:30 a.m. 

"Space and Time: Understanding the Changes in the American Landscape," Sukkoo Kim, Washington University

9:30 a.m.

"Optimal Firm Location Behavior and the Total Distance Costs of Logistics Operations," Philip McCann, University of Waikato, New Zealand

10:30 a.m Break
11 a.m.

"The Productivity Advantages of Large Markets: Distinguishing Agglomeration from Firm Selection," Gilles Duranton, University of Toronto

Noon Lunch
1:30 p.m.

"Environmental Amenities, Wages and Urban Spatial Structure," Junjie Wu, Oregon State University

2:30 p.m. 

"Rural-Urban Economic Interdependence: Spread and Backwash Effects in the American Economy," Mark Partridge, The Ohio State University

3:30 p.m. Break
4 p.m. 

"Frontiers in Rural Economics, Spatial Economics, Regional/Urban Economics," Sukkoo Kim, Philip McCann, Gilles Duranton, Junjie Wu, and Mark Partridge

5 p.m.   Adjourn

Workshop Sponsors

  • Rural Studies Program, Oregon State University
  • Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI)
  • Swank Chair, The Ohio State University
  • Castle Professorship, Oregon State University  
  • Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Nevada-Reno
  • Community Economics Section, American Agricultural Economics Association
  • Economic and Community Systems Unit, NIFA

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