Donnés relatives à la croissance annuelle moyenne du PIB en Amérique du Nord entre 1998 et 2003:
Is concentration good for growth?
Between 1998 and 2003, GDP grew faster, on average, in predominantly urban (2.4%) and intermediate regions (2.1%) than in rural regions (1.7%).
Not only do urban and intermediate regions concentrate a very large share of national GDP, they also tend grow faster than rural regions. This pattern of high concentration and fast growth seem to be driven by the benefits stemming from "economies of agglomeration" .
First, firms benefit from lower transport costs when they are close to other firms and people (local demand). Second, information flows locally more easily than over greater distances so that firms have more opportunities to learn from each other and imitate more efficient methods of production. Third, the employment opportunities created by a concentration of firms attract skilled workers, while the greater availability of specialised skills increases the productivity of firms. Finally, more intensive use of infrastructure by a larger number of firms increases the overall productivity of the regional economic system. As a result, GDP tends to grow faster in urban and intermediate regions, where economic activity and the workforce are more concentrated, than in rural ones.
Urban regions displayed the highest average GDP growth rates in 8 out of 22 OECD countries, while intermediate regions performed best in 10 out of 22. Predominantly rural regions were the fast growing areas only in the Czech Republic, Germany, Ireland and the Slovak Republic.
Although GDP tends to grow faster in urban and intermediate regions, rural regions are not necessarily trapped in a low-growth path. In fact in 9 out of 22 OECD countries, the region with the highest GDP growth was a rural region.
L'occident en chiffres: L'industrialisation