Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Drivers of Agglomeration: geography VS. History

Goerlich, Francisco José and Mas, Matilde (2009): Drivers of Agglomeration: geography VS. History. Forthcoming in: The Open Urban Studies Journal

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Abstract

This paper focuses on the influence of two classical drivers of population agglomeration: geography and history. Geography is identified by two co-ordinates: coastal position and altitude. The prominence of history is also captured by two characteristics: the initial size of the municipalities, and their status as the administrative centre of the area. In first instance we examine localization patterns, at a small geographical scale, according to these characteristics and present empirical evidence of the progressive population concentration along the coast, on the plains and in the regional (provincial) capitals; a process that has not finished in the present days. Next, we show that both drivers of population agglomeration, geography and history, are relevant for Spain and that they show an increasing explanatory power in accounting for population concentration. From a quantitative point of view the capital status factor shows the most prominent role. An exercise of conditional convergence shows that, even in the absence of these factors, we would have seen a significant amount of population concentration but at a smaller rate. Our reference is the census population data for Spanish municipalities for the period 1900-2001. Given the important changes in municipality structure, the eleven censuses have been homogenised according to the municipal structure of the 2001 Census.

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