GY313      Half Unit
Firms and Economic Geography: Location, Technology and Innovation

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Davide Rigo


This course is compulsory on the BSc in Geography with Economics. This course is available on the BA in Geography, BSc in Economic History and Geography and BSc in Environmental Policy with Economics. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.


Students should have normally taken EC100 or EC102, and one or more of: EC201, GY201 or GY222

Course content

This course aims to develop theoretical and empirical understanding of spatial economic processes in order to study and evaluate a wide range of issues and policies. Particular emphasis will be put on regional economies, business and worker location decisions, focusing in particular on models of the location of economic and innovation activity with a particular emphasis on regional economies. We will analyse the New Economic Geography theories and the agglomeration of economic activity, with a particular focus on EU integration as a testing ground. We will also look at the global and local knowledge economy, focusing on core aspects of a society based on knowledge and technical progress and how this proceeds hand in hand with the enlargement of markets and the intensification of exchange. We will also explore the seeming contradiction that geographically localized knowledge may be increasingly significant just as so much of our world becomes more globalized.

Topics covered:

1. Core-periphery patterns and New Economic Geography theories

2. Formal tests of New Economic Geography models

3. Geographical clustering of firms

4. Spatial distribution of firms, skills and growth

5. Geographical clustering of innovative activities

6. Externalities: knowledge spillovers, networks and agglomeration

7. Relatedness, path dependency and resilience

8. Location strategies of multinational enterprises

9. The impact of foreign investment


20 hours of lectures and 9 hours of classes in the MT.

Students on this course will have a reading week in Week 6.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 essay in the MT.

Indicative reading

  • Krugman P. (1991), “Geography and Trade” MIT Press, Cambridge (Mass.)
  • Baldwin, R. and C. Wyplosz (2009), “Economics of European Integration”, McGraw Hill, 3rd edition.
  • Puga, D. (2002) “European Regional Policies in the Light of Recent Location Theories”, Journal of Economic Geography 2(4), 372-406.
  • Combes P. and Overman H.G. (2003), “The spatial distribution of economic activities in the EU”, CEPR discussion paper 3999. Sections 1-3.
  • Davis, D. and Weinstein, D. (2003) “Market access, economic geography and comparative advantage”, Journal of International Economics 59(1): 1-23.
  • Ellison G., Glaeser E.,and Kerr W., (2010) “What Causes Industry Agglomeration? Evidence from Coagglomeration Patterns.” American Economic Review, 100(3): 1195-1213.
  • Moretti, E. (2004) Human capital externalities in cities. In: Handbook of Urban and Regional Economics, Vol 4.
  • Carlino G., Kerr W.R. (2015), Chapter 6 - Agglomeration and Innovation, in Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, Volume 5, 2015, Pages 349-404. 
  • Beaudry, C., Breschi, S. (2003), “Are firms in clusters really more innovative?” Economics of Innovation and New Technology, 12(4): 325–342.
  • D’Este P., Guy F., and Iammarino S. (2012), “Shaping the formation of university-industry research collaborations: what type of proximity does really matter?”, Journal of Economic Geography, 13, 537-558.
  • Neffke F., Henning M., Boschma R. (2011), How do regions diversify over time? Industry relatedness and the development of new growth paths in regions, Economic Geography, vol. 87(3), pp. 237-265.
  • Frenken K., Van Oort F., Verburg T. (2007) Related Variety, Unrelated Variety and Regional Economic Growth, Regional Studies, vol. 41:5, pp. 685-697.
  • Head, K., Mayer, T. (2004), “Market Potential and the Location of Japanese Investment in the European Union”, Review of Economics and Statistics, 86 (4): 959–972.
  • Javorcik S. B., 2004. Does Foreign Direct Investment Increase the Productivity of Domestic Firms? In Search of Spillovers Through Backward Linkages. American Economic Review 94 605-627.


Coursework (100%, 3000 words) in the LT.

Key facts

Department: Geography & Environment

Total students 2018/19: 28

Average class size 2018/19: 14

Capped 2018/19: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills