Economic geography and urban economics


The course starts with empirical insights on spatial disparities worldwide. 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 stage 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 benefits and costs of living in cities and on the empirical evaluation of place-based policies.


At the end of this course, students must be able to:

  • have scientific expertise in economic geography and urban economics;
  • identify and solve complex/new problems by mobilizing the most advanced knowledge and know-how in economic geography and urban economics;
  • acquire, synthesize and analyze individual and/or open data relevant to study spatial inequalities and/or evaluate urban, transport and housing policies;
  • implement appropriate econometric techniques to evaluate spatial and/or urban policies.


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 Economic Theory 

Lecture 5  : Benefits and Costs of Living in Cities

Lecture 6  : Success and Failure of Place-Based Policies



  • 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.
  • Lafourcade et Mayneris, 2017, En finir avec les ghettos urbains ? Retour sur l’expérience des zones franches urbaines, La rue d’Ulm, collection « Opuscules du CEPREMAP » n°44.
  • Zenou (2009), Urban Labor Economics, Cambridge University Press.