New Challenges in New Economic Geography

Interim Report

Edited by KUMAGAI Satoru
Published in March 2010
Chapter 1
This paper examines a distinctive feature of intermediate goods trade which the traditional gravity equation fails to capture, i.e., intermediate goods trade is positively related not only to the importing country‟s demand for finished goods but also to its neighbors‟ demand for finished goods. We regress a gravity equation for finished goods trade in the first step. Then, introducing the importing country‟s access to the total demand for finished goods which is calculated by using the estimates in the first step, we regress our gravity equation for trade in intermediate goods. Our regression results confirm such a feature of intermediate goods trade. Using the results of the regression, we simulate how the rise of US consumers‟ demand for finished goods affects the total imports and exports of intermediate goods in each country.
Chapter 2
This paper explores the interaction between upstream firms and downstream firms in a two-region general equilibrium model. In many countries, lower tariff rates are set for intermediate manufactured goods and higher tariff rates are set for final manufactured goods. The derived results imply that such settings of tariff rates tend to preserve a symmetric spread of upstream and downstream firms, and continuing tariff reduction may cause core-periphery structures. In the case in which the circular causality between upstream and downstream firms is focused! as agglomeration forces, the present model is fully solved. Thus, we find that (1) the present model displays, at most, three interior steady states, (2) when the asymmetric steady-states exist, they are unstable and (3) location displays hysteresis when the transport costs of intermediate manufactured goods are sufficiently high.
Chapter 3
This paper proposes evidences for linking innovation and knowledge exchanges in developing economies towards a comprehensive theory of new economic geography in the knowledge based spatial economy. Firms which dispatched engineers to customers achieved more innovations than firms which did not. Mutual sharing of knowledge also stimulates innovations. A just-in-time relationship is effective for dealing with upgrading production process. But such strong complementarities with partners are not effective for product innovation. These evidences support the hypothesis that face-to-face communication and complementarities among production linkages have different roles in knowledge creation.
Chapter 4
This chapter attempts to identify some important issues in developing realistic simulation models based on new economic geography, and it suggests a direction for solving the difficulties. Specifically, adopting the IDE Geographical Simulation Model (IDE-GSM) as an example, we discuss some problems in developing a realistic simulation model for East Asia. The first and largest problem in this region is the lack of reliable economic datasets at the sub-national level, and this issue needs to be resolved in the long term. However, to deal with the existing situation in the short term, we utilize some techniques to produce more realistic and reliable simulation models.
One key compromise is to use a ‘topology’ representation of geography, rather than a ‘mesh’ or ‘grid’ representation or simple ‘straight lines’ connecting each city which are used in many other models. In addition to this, a modal choice model that takes into consideration both money and time costs seems to work well.
Chapter 5
This chapter attempts to identify whether product differentiation or geographical differentiation is the main source of profit for firms in developing economies by employing a simple idea from the recently developed method of empirical industrial organization. Theoretically, location choice and product choice have been considered as analogues in differentiation, but in the real world, which of these strategies is chosen will result in an immense difference in firm behavior and in the development process of the industry. Development of the technique of empirical industrial organization enabled us to identify market outcomes with endogeneity. A typical case is the market outcome with differentiation, where price or product choice is endogenously determined. Our original survey contains data on market location, differences in product types, and price. The results show that product differentiation rather than geographical differentiation mitigates pressure on price competition, but 70 per cent secures geographical monopoly.