Economic geography and urban economics


This course studies the main economic forces that lead to the existence of spatial disparities across countries or regions and within cities. The course starts with several empirical insights on geographical disparities. Then, it presents economic theories explaining firms’ and workers’ location choices, with a particular focus on the interaction between trade costs and imperfect competition. It shows that spatial inequalities obey a bell-shaped relationship: while the first stages of economic integration gives firms and mobile workers incentives to congregate in some “core” regions, more advanced stages might produce a reindustrialization of “peripheral” and a deindustrialization of “core” regions. The course ends with a particular focus on the economic forces that cause the spread of urban population from inner cities to outward suburbs, and the empirical evaluation of several policies designed to counteract urban segregation.


  • Lecture 1: Spatial Inequalities: An Overview
  • Lecture 2: The Core-Periphery Model of Economic Geography: Theory and Practice
  • Lecture 3: The Bell-Shaped Curve of Spatial Development: Theory and Practice
  • Lecture 4: An Introduction to Urban Economics
  • Lecture 5: Agglomeration Economies, Urban Costs and Urban Policy


– Cheshire, Nathan and Overman (2014), Urban Economics and Urban policies: Challenging conventional policy wisdom, Edgar Elgar.
– Combes, Mayer and Thisse (2008), Economic Geography. The Integration of Regions and Nations, Princeton University Press.
– Crozet and Lafourcade (2009), La Nouvelle Economie Géographique, La Découverte, Repères n°542.
– Fujita, Krugman and Venables (1999), The Spatial Economy, Cities, Regions and International Trade, The MIT Press.
– Fujita (1999), Urban Economic Theory: Land Use and City Size, Cambridge University Press.
– Zenou (2009), Urban Labor Economics, Cambridge University Press.