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The New Oxford Handbook of Economic Geography

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Introduction Economic Geography in the Twenty-first Century

Gordon L. Clark ([email protected]) DSc (Oxon) FBA is the Director of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment with cross-appointments at the Saïd Business School and the School of Geography and the Environment at Oxford University. He holds a Professorial Fellowship at St Edmund Hall, Oxford. He is also Sir Louis Matheson Distinguished Visiting Professor at Monash University’s Faculty of Business and Economics (Melbourne) and a Visiting Professor at Stanford University. Previous academic appointments have been at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Harvard Law School (Senior Research Associate), the University of Chicago, Carnegie Mellon’s Heinz School, and ↵Monash University. Other honours include being Andrew Mellon Fellow at the US National Academy of Sciences and Visiting Scholar Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst at the University of Marburg.

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Meric S. Gertler ([email protected]) is President of the University of Toronto, Professor of Geography and Planning and the Goldring Chair in Canadian Studies. He was the founding co- director of the Program on Globalization and Regional Innovation Systems (PROGRIS) at the Munk School of Global Affairs. His research focuses on the geography of innovative activity, the economies of city regions, and economic restructuring in North America and Europe. He is the author, co- author, and co- editor of more than ninety scholarly articles and chapters, and nine books, including Manufacturing Culture: The Institutional Geography of Industrial Practice. He has served as an advisor to local, regional, and national governments in Canada, the USA, and Europe, and international agencies such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. He is the founding associate editor of the Journal of Economic Geography.

Dariusz Wójcik ([email protected]) is a Professor of Economic Geography in the School of Geography and the Environment at Oxford University, a Fellow of St Peter’s College, and a Visiting Professor at Beijing Normal University. His research focuses on finance, corporate governance, and economic globalization. His current project, funded by the European Research Council, investigates how financial and business services have been affected by the global financial crisis, and how they change in response to new financial regulation, the rise of the Global South, and the digital revolution. The project also focuses on the impacts of finance on regional development. Dariusz is a member of the editorial board of Economic Geography, the Journal of Economic Geography, Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space and GeoJournal and leads the Global Network on Financial Geography (FinGeo).

  • Published: 05 February 2018
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The introduction approaches economic geography with reference to where, why , and so what questions focused on understanding economy. The latter is defined broadly as a totality of processes through which individuals, households, and societies make a living and sustain themselves. This economic–geographical approach is then elaborated with the concepts of location, place, territory, distance, proximity, diversity, scale, heterogeneity, and differentiation. The evolution of the discipline, the main challenges facing the world economy in the twenty-first century, and ways in which the discipline has responded to understanding these challenges are outlined briefly. The chapter demonstrates that the discipline has remained open and dynamic in a pursuit of explaining the spatiality of economic processes and their impacts on growth, uneven development, stability, and sustainability. Finally, the structure and arguments of the Handbook are previewed, highlighting how the discipline has changed since the first Handbook was published in 2000.

The Remit of Economic Geography

Geography can be defined as the why and so what of where . In economic geography the where, why, and so what questions are focused on understanding economy. The latter needs to be defined broadly as the totality of processes through which individuals, households, and societies make a living and sustain themselves. As such, it involves the processes of production, consumption, distribution, and exchange, but not only those in the formal economy. Informal economy, both ‘grey’, such as household production, and ‘black’, such as illegal drug trade, are as much of interest to economic geographers as constituents of national income ( Gibson-Graham, 2006 ). The value of unpaid childcare alone, one of the informal economy’s many components, was estimated at £343 billion in the UK in 2010, an equivalent of 23 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), in which it is not included. The broad definition of economy in economic geography also recognizes that economy is embedded in society and nature, relying on social and natural resources and processes. As such, human–environment relations are central to economic geography, just as they are to geography in general.

Where is about the spatiality of economic processes and involves the key concepts of location, place , and territory ( Coe et al., 2013 ). Location can be understood simply as the geographical coordinates of a person or object. Places are parts of space with a specific meaning. They are socially constructed and can refer to body parts, buildings, streets, workplaces, shops, parks, neighbourhoods, cities, and an infinite number of other phenomena, which can be defined differently by different people. Territory is also a part of space, but this time defined by a specific system of power that exercises (even if only partial) control over that part of space. This can be a nation state, with control exercised by national government, but it can also be a subnational state, province, or city under the control of a regional or municipal government. Thus, as we move from location through place to territory, we shift focus from physical, through social, to political space. Locations, places, and territories are crucial to understanding economy. If you are born in the USA, you can expect to earn 100 times more and live thirty years longer than if you are born in Zambia. A Bolivian man with nine years of schooling earns, on average, three times less than his counterpart in the USA. The best predictor of income is not what and whom you know but where you work ( World Bank, 2009 ).

What helps economic geographers relate locations, places, and territories to each other are the concepts of distance, proximity, diversity , and scale. Distance is defined in terms of physical space, as physical distance between locations. Proximity is a much broader concept, helping us relate people, objects, places, and territories in social and political space, in addition to physical space. As such, we can distinguish many types of proximity, including social, organizational, institutional, and cognitive ( Boschma, 2005 ). For example, people may be distant physically, but very close in terms of their language and culture, organizations they belong to, rules they follow, or ways in which they think, and vice versa, very close physically but far apart with regard to other types of proximity. Both distance and proximity are ultimately about understanding the difference between people and objects in their locations, places, and territories. This emphasis speaks to the preoccupation of economic geography with diversity of economic life, and caution regarding the search for universal laws that shape this life. Equally important to economic geography is commitment to a multiscalar inquiry, starting with the human body and an individual as an economic agent, through the scale of workplace and home, local (e.g. neighbourhood), urban, regional, national, to the supranational and global scale ( Castree et al., 2004 ).

Why is about explaining the spatiality of economic processes and the diversity of economic life they create. Here, geographers study a mesmerizing variety of forces ranging from economic universals like demand and supply, through behaviour of economic actors and organizations, formal and informal institutions setting the rules of economic activities, to ethnicity, sex, and other cultural factors. The centre stage is no longer occupied by a utility maximizer—homo economicus—but rather a satisficer, searching for satisfactory rather than optimal solutions, whose decisions are affected by her or his cognition on one side and environment on the other ( Simon, 1956 ). What is more, in their decisions people are subject to all kinds of systematic anomalies and biases, including myopia and loss aversion, and are affected by the way problems facing them are framed ( Kahneman, 2011 ). Complacency is mixed with overreaction to environmental stimuli, and herd behaviour with individualism in complex ways, making the economic landscape even more difficult to explain and predict.

Economic geography considers economic landscape as heterogenous , the product of history and processes that can be distinctive to a place or territory. This does not mean that economies are incomparable across space. It does, however, mean that they cannot be reduced to a set of universal variables like GDP growth rate or Gini coefficient. This also highlights the need for using a diverse set of quantitative and qualitative research methods, as well as knowledge gained through experience, rather than applying a distant, and purportedly objective, view on economic life. In the spirit of steering clear of determinism, some economic geographers talk about factors facilitating rather than determinants of spatial economic structures ( Massey, 1995 ).

The so what question concerns the consequences of the spatial variation and organization of economic processes for economy, society, and nature at large. One way to think about these consequences is to focus on four key dimensions of economic development: growth, equity, stability, and sustainability. With its focus on uneven development across space, economic geography has contributed significantly to debates on growth and equity. Of particular relevance here is the geographers’ interest in the processes of differentiation , whereby difference, including inequality, is produced by economic processes that sustain long-term spatial variation ( Clark et al., 2000 ). This contribution was crucial in counteracting hyper-globalist views, prominent in the 1990s, emphasizing homogenizing forces of globalization, envisaging a global society, and predicting the end of geography in economy, politics, and culture.

While the battle fought by economic geography against a simplistic view of globalization continues, as we argue in the following section, the twenty-first century poses new challenges to the discipline, particularly in the areas of equity, stability, and sustainability. To be sure, beyond informing scholars inside and outside of geography, the crucial aspect of the so what question involves the impact of economic geography on public debate and policy. Even at the very basic level, the quintessentially geographical curiosity about where a product or a meal comes from can contribute to a better informed, more reflexive, and responsible consumption. In this sense, economic geography is arguably more than a discipline. It is a perspective, a mindset that can help responsible behaviour and citizenship.

The where, why, and so what questions have permeated the history of economic geography, although with changing emphasis. The roots of economic geography can be found in commercial geography of the nineteenth century, which was preoccupied with the origin of different products and documenting trade patterns around the world. Environmental geography in the first three decades of the twentieth century shifted focus from where to why , explaining economic, as well as social, patterns across space with features of natural environment, predominantly climate, often in an excessively deterministic manner. Dissatisfied with environmental determinism, for the next quarter century or so, starting from the late 1920s, in a wave of research referred to as aerial differentiation, economic geography returned to focus on the question where , emphasizing the mutual interdependence of place and economy, but without privileging the natural environment as a causal factor. In the 1950s, the discipline evolved again to the question why , employing quantitative locational analysis, allied with economic and regional science, modelling the location of economic activity as a function of demand, supply, and distance as key factors ( Berry et al., 1987 ).

The last three decades of the twentieth century have witnessed further developments in economic geography that modified the way economic geographers ask the questions where and why . One was the rise of behavioural approaches in the 1970s, investigating locational decisions of economic actors who satisfice and cope with uncertainty. A more radical turn was a political economy approach, from the 1970s shifting emphasis from location to territory, and from ‘purely’ economic to social and political processes, in which economies are embedded. Finally, a cultural economy approach, flourishing since the 1990s, has complemented the political economy approach by focusing on place and cultural embeddedness of economic life and lived economic experiences.

All waves and approaches in economic geography have engaged with the so what question, but in different ways and with different emphasis. In commercial geography it was about predicting the patterns of commerce and identifying commercial opportunities. Environmental geography ventured into predicting the capacity of different environments to carry human activity, including a famous forecast made in 1940 by Griffith Taylor, when the population of Australia was seven million, that the natural environment would limit its population to a range of 20–30 million (exactly where it is now) ( Taylor, 1940 ). Locational analysis contributed to corporate decision-making, regional and urban economic planning, and forecasting economic growth at the subnational level. Political and cultural economy approaches have brought new perspectives to the table, including big normative questions about inequality, the future of capitalism, and its alternatives.

A shift in emphasis in terms of questions has been accompanied with movement on the continuum between nomothetic (theory-driven) and idiographic (descriptive) approaches. Commercial geography and the study of aerial differentiation were on the idiographic end of the scale, with locational analysis marking the height of the nomothetic tradition. Social and natural sciences influencing economic geography have been changing as well. While environmental determinism pursued grounding in natural sciences, locational analysis did so in economics, political economy approaches in heterodox political economy, while cultural economy approaches find inspiration primarily in social theory and economic sociology.

Ultimately, all of the waves and shifts in the history of economic geography contribute to the palimpsest of the discipline, in which the new does not necessarily supersede and replace the old, but adds a new layer and angle to the collective intellectual project. They reflect the dynamism of an open and interdisciplinary field, well suited to explaining the trends and addressing the challenges facing the world in the twenty-first century. It is these trends and challenges, and how economic geography has responded to them, to which we now turn.

The World Economy Since 2000

More than fifteen years have passed since the publication of the first Oxford Handbook of Economic Geography . This is a long time for an academic discipline with not much over 100 years of history, particularly during a period of momentous change and challenge in the world economy.

We have seen an unprecedented growth of many economies, particularly in Asia. The share of India in global nominal GDP increased from 1 per cent in 2000 to 3 per cent in 2015; China’s from 3 per cent to 15 per cent. The term emerging markets has been planted in the popular imagination, as have more recent terms like BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India, and China), and the Global South (Africa, Central and Latin America, and Asia), all recognizing the contribution of hitherto underdeveloped countries to the world economy. A related phenomenon is the growing significance of south-to-south economic relations, including Chinese trade and investment in Africa and Latin America. Combined with the effects of the recent financial crises on the US and European economies, these trends mark the emergence of new geo-economics, which collides with old US-dominated geopolitics, with the Global South severely under-represented in global economic governance structures such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). There are potential signs of hope, as in December 2015 the US Congress finally approved the reform of the IMF, which now offers more voting rights to Brazil, Russia, India, and China ( IMF, 2016 ).

To be sure, growth in the Global South has been very uneven, both between countries, excluding large parts of Africa in particular, and within countries. It has been accompanied by a huge wave of urbanization, with the percentage of world population living in cities rising from 48 per cent in 2000 to 55 per cent in 2015. This represents 1.1 billion more urban dwellers, with 90 per cent of this growth in emerging and developing economies of the Global South. Megacities have grown particularly fast. At the end of 2015 there were twenty-nine cities with populations over ten million, up from seventeen in 2000 (United Nations, 2016). The Pearl River Delta which hosts two of them, Shenzhen and Guangzhou, in addition to the eight-million-strong Hong Kong, was developing into the world’s largest megacity region (overtaking Tokyo), with a high-speed railway to link Guangzhou with Hong Kong, a 40-km-long bridge to link Hong Kong with Macau and Zhuhai, and a subway linking Guangzhou with Shenzhen ( The Economist , 2016).

Fast growth in many emerging and developing countries has left many behind, making societies more unequal, with the biggest contrasts following the urban–rural divide. While Shanghai may enjoy the average GDP per capita level (in purchasing power parity terms) comparable with Israel, in Gansu province it is comparable with Angola. Inequalities of income and wealth have also continued to increase in advanced economies. This ascent, as documented by Thomas Piketty (2013) , is now over forty years old. In the 2010s it has made many economies (with the USA and UK in the lead) as unequal as they were in the 1930s. What is worse, only high growth of income combined with much higher redistribution of income and wealth can reverse this trend in a peaceful manner, and neither looks likely as of 2016. While driven by a complex combination of globalization, technology, and ideology, growing inequality undeniably erodes cohesion and health of societies and presents a fundamental challenge to sustainability.

Technology, including the rise of the digital economy, has contributed to growth, urbanization, and inequality. It has facilitated the development of long chains and complex networks of investment, production, and trade, which have enveloped emerging and developing economies. At the same time, through economies of scale and agglomeration, it has privileged cities, particularly large ones, as nodes in these networks, which concentrate innovation, financial, and coordinating activities. To add to spatial inequalities, the gap has grown between those who have the skills to keep up with new technology, and those who do not. Educational systems fight an uphill struggle to address this growing skills gap, as the latter is inextricably linked with growing income and wealth inequality.

In 1998–99 when the first Oxford Handbook of Economic Geography was edited, Dropbox and Skype did not exist, editors would more often use a university library than a web browser, and probably few geographers dreamt of big data. Since then the amount of information stored digitally around the world has increased thousands of times. Having reshaped media and services (the world of information bytes), digital technologies, armed with open-source design and three-dimensional printing, are now affecting manufacturing (the world of atoms). For some, we are on the brink of a technological transformation, whereby production is brought much closer, also in terms of physical distance, to consumption, thus reducing the need for very long production chains ( Anderson, 2012 ). Others, however, are sceptical, arguing that technology has ‘run out of steam’, and the new technologies are unable to generate sustained economic growth at high rates experienced since the 1950s ( Gordon, 2016 ). Instead, an annual growth rate of 1 per cent or lower may be a new normal.

Crucially, we have not managed to lessen the pressure of the world economy on the environment. Global carbon dioxide emissions have risen by nearly 40 per cent since 2000, with China replacing the USA as the largest polluter ( PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, 2015 ). There is headway, however, in both technology and policy. The capacity of solar and wind power has multiplied. Hybrid and electric cars are increasingly common on the streets, not only in advanced economies. The profile of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has grown with every new assessment report, boosted by the Nobel Prize awarded to the organization in 2007. The Stern Review, published in 2006, highlighted the devastating effects of climate change on the world economy, calling for major investment of 1 to 2 per cent of global GDP per year to address the worst effects ( Stern, 2007 ). The Paris agreement of 2015 within the framework of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change also marked major progress in this area, with commitment to ambitious goals in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, climate change adaption efforts, and financial contributions to achieve both aims.

In addition to these shifts, the world economy has experienced a major shock. This began with the subprime crisis in the US in 2007–08 and spilled over to Europe in 2009, exposing the structural weaknesses of the Eurozone. As the most severe and far-reaching economic crisis since the 1930s, it has been referred to as the global financial crisis or the Great Recession. While the financial sector in the most affected countries has been saved from the consequences of its own reckless behaviour, and a full-blown depression has been prevented, the resulting explosion of public debt is unprecedented, putting a huge burden on the public sector and threatening long-term growth prospects. To add irony to the situation, wealthy individuals of advanced economies own an absolute majority of public debt of their countries. Europe as a whole has not been in so much debt, in relation to the size of its economy, since the aftermath of World War II. In terms of the wealth accumulated (extremely unevenly so) by its citizens, however, it is richer than ever ( Piketty, 2013 ).

In sum, we live not only in very interesting, but also in highly uncertain times. Globalization and integration, arguably the liveliest topics in economic geography in the 1990s, which started with the collapse of communism and ended with the introduction of the Euro, have continued hand in hand with financialization until 2007, but have slowed down since, and can no longer be taken for granted. New financial regulations may be beneficial in curtailing the excesses of international and national financial markets, but the implicit assumption that the purpose of a financial system is to serve the needs of the national ‘real’ economy, rather than a global ‘real’ economy, as made by many proponents of new regulation, might be problematic. Elsewhere, in the ‘real’ economy, economic nationalism and protectionism are also in ascendency, including the growing popularity of national champion policies. Of particular importance to the future of globalization are obviously the relationships between the USA and China. Whether a balance of power conducive to international economic integration can be established remains one of the big question marks.

A pessimist may interpret these challenges and uncertainties by turning to Karl Polanyi’s idea of double movement ( Polanyi, 1957 ). As the excesses of marketization, including the forces of neoliberalization, financialization, and globalization, have led to a crisis of capitalism, the fundamental problems they have created, with inequality in the lead, have not been resolved. In fact, inequality has, in many advanced economies, been aggravated by austerity policies. However, a countermovement is mounting. Put very simply, people in mature economies appear tired of elites hoarding the benefits of globalization rather than sharing them more evenly. While the Great Recession has discredited the old economic model, the economic and political establishment has done little to change it and revert the trend of rising inequality.

As a result of rising inequality many people turn to populist politicians proposing to erect walls, literal and not, in a promise to protect their countries from foreign influence, and fuelling xenophobia. The slogan ‘take back control’ used successfully by the Leave campaign in the UK’s European Union referendum (2016) is a reflection of this trend, as is the election of Donald Trump as the US President. Analogies with the early twentieth century are ominous, when a wave of marketization of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century was followed by international conflict and economic crisis. Polanyi reminds us that tensions between marketization and the countermovement do not need to resolve themselves peacefully. For that reason one could also argue that stemming the tide of rising inequality is a precondition for addressing the collective problem of climate change.

While we may disagree with a Polanyian warning for our times, there is no doubt economic geography remains crucial, maybe more important than ever, to understanding the global economic change. Urbanization led by megacities reminds us about the significance of location, place, and proximity in today’s economy. Digital and other technologies may overcome the friction of distance for some economic relations and activities, such as communication, while at the same time enhancing the role of proximity for others, such as corporate control. Despite globalization and integration, territoriality remains key to understanding the geoeconomics and geopolitics of the twenty-first century. The spectacular growth of economies ranging from Singapore to China, India, and Angola testify to the principles of diversity and heterogeneity, where there is not one economic model to follow. Growing inequality speaks to the underlying processes of differentiation. Scale plays a fundamental role, too. We cannot interpret the secessionist movement in Catalonia without considering Catalonia as a city region that does not only see itself as different from the rest of Spain, but also seeks independence to function more flexibly in a world where growth is to a large and increasing degree driven by successful city regions.

The where, why , and so what questions of economic geography are relevant to understanding economy wherever you are. The last editorial meeting for this handbook took place in San Francisco in March 2016, where these questions resonated particularly loudly. In 2000, when the first handbook went to print, the dot.com boom, of which the San Francisco Bay Area was the centre, came to an end. The Nasdaq Index reached its peak of 5048 in March only to lose half of it by the end of the year, wiping out trillions of US dollars in market capitalization. The area was a symbol of irrational exuberance, congestion of economic activity, and unaffordability, with an average rent exceeding $3000, and thousands of homeless people. Geography students around the world were writing essays about San Francisco as a prime example of diseconomies of agglomeration. Surely, many in 2000 must have thought that this agglomeration cannot increase any more, and would not have banked on the future of this city region.

Fast forward sixteen years. The San Francisco Bay Area economy is larger and more dominant in the world of innovation and technology than ever before. It hosts the command centres of the two largest corporations in the world by market value (Apple and Google), and two more in the global top ten: Facebook and Wells Fargo—the world’s largest bank by market capitalization. In 2000, it had two companies in the global top ten: Cisco and Intel. It is by far the leading global centre of financial technology (fintech), which reinforces its position as a financial centre. An average rent is now over $4000—possibly the highest of all cities in the world. The issue of homelessness has been aggravated by the subprime mortgage crisis and the following wave of repossessions ( Schafran, 2013 ). At the same time, it is a place of mesmerizing diversity and creativity. Its corporations are at the centre of debates on global cyber security as well as clean technology innovation. As such, the San Francisco Bay Area and its history is a monument to the extremely uneven and spiky economic landscape—a powerful demonstration of how the issues of growth, inequality, stability, and sustainability all meet in one place with implications for the whole interdependent world.

Economic Geography Since 2000

San Francisco is also a good place for reflection on how economic geography as a discipline has responded to the changes and challenges of the twenty-first century. As the cradle of the Flower Power movement against the Vietnam War, and the sexual revolution of the 1960s and the 1970s, the city provided considerable inspiration for debates on gender, capitalism, and the rise of political and cultural economy approaches. It was also here, in Berkeley, where Allan Pred led the behavioural turn.

To start with, it is worth highlighting that all schools of economic geography that have developed since the nineteenth century continue to be relevant. Documenting and predicting patterns of production and trade is as important to businesses and governments today as it was in the heyday of commercial geography. It may even be more relevant given the intensity of cross-border investment flows spanning the globe. One of the recent developments in consulting is referred to as financial cartography, mapping financial flows and networks to analyse investment opportunities and risks. As John Authers wrote in the Financial Times , ‘Investors have much to learn from academics—and certainly not just from economists—(…) now it is the turn of geographers’ (2015, p. 28).

Many would consign environmental determinism to history, but considering that our civilization has in some respects already breached environmental limits to sustainable development, more engagement of economic geography with environmental issues, including resource management and climate change, is warranted. Regional economic geography, a la mode of aerial differentiation research, also has a place in the world where many hitherto understudied economies become the stage of key economic processes. Take Myanmar, for example, where a large population and resources have attracted a wave of Chinese investment, shaping Myanmar’s geoeconomic and geopolitical position.

Locational analysis continues to offer key analytical tools for studying economic development at a regional and urban level, growing only more important the further we move away from the world economy organized by industrial nation states to a complex international network economy. By cultivating quantitative skills, and spatial econometrics, locational analysis together with geographical information systems also plays a major part in responding to the challenge and opportunity of big data. Political economy approaches remain vital for studying inequality, uneven development, capitalism, and for cultivating relationships between economic geography and heterodox economics. Cultural economy offers invaluable insights into the rise of cultural and creative industries, not to mention social media and networks.

In addition to the application of existing approaches, new perspectives have been developed or gained prominence since 2000. The global financial crisis has renewed interest in the economic geography of finance (Clark and Wójcik, 2007). The US subprime crisis had a fundamental spatiality, arising at the intersection between predatory financial practices and speculative investment in urban land and housing. Competitive deregulation driven by competition among nation states and financial centres contributed to the credit boom in the US and elsewhere. The consequences of the crisis have been extremely uneven both across and within countries. In Europe, the gap between the wealthier north and the poorer south has grown. In the UK, London has boomed, while smaller cities and towns, particularly in the north, have suffered the most. Geographers have been busy documenting and interpreting these developments ( Aalbers, 2012 ; Christopherson et al., 2015 ). One could even notice a shift from the economic geography of finance, focused on the spatiality of finance, to a much broader financial geography, a geography infused with attention to and understanding of finance, drawing on influences from political economy and cultural economy, as well as financial sociology, history, anthropology, and economics.

Financial geography is an example of the way in which economic geography is responding to the crisis of confidence in mainstream economics. Arguably, financial economics, with its blind faith in market efficiency and expansion of financial markets, has been compromised most of all, and so it is not surprising to see other social sciences stepping in to respond to demands for new perspectives. To be sure, in the wake of the crisis, economists themselves search for new ideas. For example, the Institute for New Economic Thinking, founded in 2009, aims among other goals at revising the university curriculum for economics to make it more empirically grounded and methodologically diverse, more reflexive and critical, and less canonical, with less emphasis on calibrating established one-size-fits-all models, and more attuned to the diversity of economic life in the real world ( INET, 2016 ). One cannot help thinking that this looks like a manifesto to convert economics into economic geography.

While the willingness of the economics profession as a whole to reform itself is a controversial topic ( Mirowski, 2013 ), geographers should see it as an opportunity for greater collaboration and competition with economists. Take, as an example, Thomas Piketty’s magisterial work on inequality ( Piketty, 2013 ). On the one hand, the book represents a model of historically informed, and empirically rich research on a topic hitherto notably neglected by economists. On the other hand, the work remains rooted in methodological nationalism, with no attention to the urban and regional dynamics of inequality, and relatively little attention to its international dimensions, beyond a comparison between nation states.

As in economics, in economic geography we have seen an increasing engagement with ideas from biology and engineering. One group of studies is focused on the notion of resilience—the ability of a regional economy to withstand, absorb, or overcome an external economic shock ( Martin and Sunley, 2015 ). Another area of research builds on evolutionary economics to develop evolutionary economic geography, interested in the processes involved in the evolution of the economic landscape, and the role of regions and cities as arenas of economic evolution. Theses writings are rife with such concepts as learning, path dependence, selection, and novelty ( Boschma and Frenken, 2006 ). A related but younger strand of research in evolutionary economic geography draws inspiration from complexity economics, treating the economic landscape as a non-deterministic, non-linear system, where spatial and other macrostructures emerge spontaneously out of the microscale behaviours and interactions of system components, such as firms or individuals ( Martin and Sunley, 2007 ).

A focus on agency in shaping economic landscape, prominent in evolutionary economic geography, is the centre of relational economic geography, which focuses on relations among economic actors as key processes shaping economic landscape (Bathelt and Glückler, 2003). A related practice approach builds more directly on cultural economic geography to study practices understood as stabilized, routinized, or improvized social actions that constitute and reproduce economic space, and through and within which socioeconomic actors and communities embed knowledge, organize production activities, and interpret and derive meaning from the world ( Jones and Murphy, 2010 ). At the heart of this approach is an interest in the everyday economic life.

Frequency of Geographical Bigrams Occurring in Books Included in the English-language Corpus of Google Books.

Both the relational and practice approach pay a lot of attention to social and economic networks, but not quite as much as groups of studies that make networks their explicit focus, with the Global Production Networks approach in the lead. The latter is concerned with processes of strategic coupling between actors representing particular regions, such as government agencies, local businesses or business associations, and transnational corporations ( Coe et al., 2004 ). In sum, whether focused on the micro, meso, or macro, the new turns and approaches in economic geography demonstrate that the discipline has remained open and dynamic in a pursuit of explaining the spatiality of economic processes and their impacts on growth, uneven development, stability, and sustainability.

While the progress made by economic geography since 2000 escapes easy quantification, to illustrate it in a historical context, in Figure 0.1 we use the Google Books Ngram Viewer, which captures the frequency of a bigram occurring in books included in the English-language corpus of Google Books. Results since 1900, smoothed over ten years, indicate that the popularity of the term ‘economic geography’ had grown steadily since the turn of the century and peaked in the 1960s, possibly owing to the influence of locational analysis and regional science. It had declined in the 1970s and the 1980s, which saw the rise of social and then cultural geography. Since the trough of 1988, the popularity of the term has grown, probably revitalized by the wave of interest in globalization in the 1990s. This upward trajectory continued into the 2000s, and by 2008, on which the data end, economic geography was more popular than political, cultural, or social geography, and even surpassed human geography.

We should view this diagram with a spoonful rather than a pinch of salt, but broad trends indicated therein do make some sense, and they definitely paint economic geography as a discipline on the rise. There is little doubt that this upward trend has continued beyond 2008. To start with, in 2008 Paul Krugman was awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his contribution to economic geography and international trade theory. Later in the same year, the World Bank published its 2009 World Development Report entitled ‘Reshaping Economic Geography’, reflecting not only the influence of Krugman, but also related work in urban economics led by Gilles Duranton, Ed Glaeser, and J. Vernon Henderson, among others ( World Bank, 2009 ). In addition, the crisis of confidence in mainstream economics in the wake of the Great Recession has also promoted interest in economic geography as an alternative way of viewing the economy.

What has contributed to the rise of economic geography since 2000, in addition to individual effort, ingenuity, and timely responses to opportunities created by political, economic, and other changes in the discipline’s external environment, were major organizational developments within it. In terms of academic journals, the discipline now has two pillars or flagships publishing cutting-edge research in the field. In 2001 the Journal of Economic Geography joined the Economic Geography journal, published since 1925. The specific contribution of the new journal, developed under the leadership of Neil Wrigley, is reinvigorating the intersection between economic geography and economics, helping the journal to become one of the top outlets in both geography and economics.

On a different front, Jamie Peck led the organization of the Summer Institute in Economic Geography, a biannual gathering of graduate students and early-career academics together with leading scholars who present and discuss theoretical and methodological innovations in the discipline. By 2016, over 300 young scholars from nearly 50 countries attended these meetings. Finally, in 2000 the Global Conference on Economic Geography was born in Singapore, through the initiative of Henry Yeung with the aim of facilitating a global dialogue among economic geographers, with a specific focus on the Global South. The following Global Conferences took place in Beijing, Seoul, and the most recent one in 2015 in Oxford, hosting over 700 delegates from over 50 countries. This successful participation has changed the timing from every four years to a triennial cycle, with the next conference to be held in Cologne in 2018.

Geographers have also been at the forefront of many new interdisciplinary initiatives, such as the Centre for Innovation, Research and Competence in the Learning Economy, established in Lund in 2004. The Regional Studies Association launched a Chinese division in 2014, and established new journals led by economic geographers, including Spatial Economic Analysis in 2006, and Area Development and Policy in 2015. There are many other developments that reflect a discipline that has become larger, more globalized and diverse, and more influential that could also be mentioned.

Our Handbook

Given the success economic geography has enjoyed in the last fifteen years, it is not surprising that it has generated many state-of-the-art textbooks and handbooks. The most recent range from introductory texts for undergraduate students ( Wood and Roberts, 2011 ; Coe et al., 2013 ), through more advanced texts focused on the political economy approach ( Leyshon et al., 2011 ; Barnes et al., 2012 ) and key concepts ( Aoyama et al., 2010 ) to more specialized texts, such as The Handbook of Evolutionary Economic Geography ( Boschma and Martin, 2012 ), not to forget the seventh edition of Peter Dicken’s Global Shift (2015) .

Building on the success of the first edition, this volume offers a radically revised, updated, and broader approach to economic geography. The structure of the first handbook was based primarily on pairing perspectives on different topics from geographers and economists, in order to highlight the distinctive theoretical contribution of the former, as well as encourage dialogue between geographers and economists. Now that economic geography has matured, and dialogue with economists has been reinvigorated, we can take a bolder approach to tackling the questions of why and so what of where . As argued earlier, the first fifteen years of the twenty-first century have thrown into sharp relief the challenges of growth, equity, stability, and sustainability facing the world economy. In addition, they have exposed the inadequacies of mainstream economics in providing answers to these challenges. In this context the objective of the handbook is to provide a forward-looking perspective to understanding the various building blocks, relationships, and trajectories in the world economy. Reviewing the state-of-the-art of economic geography, setting agendas, and with illustrations and empirical evidence from around the world, the book aims to serve as an important reference for advanced-level undergraduate students, graduate students, researchers, strategists, and policy-makers.

The volume opens with Part I, ‘Grounded in Place’, which explores some of the key developments in the world economy of the twenty-first century. It starts by investigating the phenomenal growth of Asian economies (Chapter 1 ), with particular focus on China (Chapter 4 ) and India (Chapter 5 ). Key challenges to future development in both countries, including political structures and social exclusion, are discussed. Part I also highlights the unprecedented rise of inequality within affluent countries with high levels of income inequality (Chapter 2 ), including regional disparities (Chapter 3 ), aggravated by the financial meltdown of the US subprime and Eurozone crises. While in many countries provincial areas suffered most from the crisis and the subsequent austerity policies, as Chapter 6 shows, in Greece losses have been concentrated in metropolitan Athens. As a whole, Part I introduces economic geography as a discipline sensitive to the experiences of particular economies in specific places.

The issue-driven and empirically focused Part I sets the stage for the presentation of ‘Conceptual Foundations’ of economic geography in Part II. Building on Part I, Chapter 7 reflects on the distinction between economic growth and development, offers a definition of the latter focused on shared prosperity and human fulfilment, and calls for policies focused on building capacities aimed at reducing the highly unequal social and geographical distributions that result from current frameworks obsessed with growth. Chapter 8 goes further, demonstrating how thinking geographically disrupts core propositions about capitalism in mainstream economic theory, and proposes geographical political economy as a way forward. This perspective is complemented by relational, behavioural, and evolutionary perspectives, explained and argued for passionately in Chapters 9, 10, and 11, respectively. For instance, Chapter 10 states the case that the behavioural revolution is a tool to understand common problems in economic geography, such as co-location, clusters of innovation, diffusion of innovation, and home bias. This is extended in Chapter 12 , which concludes Part II by focusing on the virtues and intricacies of comparative approaches in economic geography.

In Part III, ‘Innovation’, we zoom in on innovation as a driver of growth and development. As Chapter 13 demonstrates, our understanding of innovation is broad, encompassing different types of actors in entrepreneurial ecosystems. In this vein, Chapter 15 highlights the role of consumers in co-creating innovations. Chapter 14 explains the role of the Internet as the key innovation of late twentieth and early twenty-first century, its diffusion, and its impacts on local economies. Chapter 16 takes stock of the evolving theoretical and empirical research on the creative industries, while Chapter 17 distinguishes between factors shaping innovation that are internal and external to firms, including the crucial question about the impact of co-location on innovation.

The ‘Firm’—as a key unit of analysis in economic geographical research—takes centre stage in Part IV. Chapter 18 picks up where Chapter 17 left off, examining the logics of agglomeration, including city and cluster formation, and highlighting opportunities for economic geography created by new types of data. The following chapters delve into the geographical nature of multinational enterprise (Chapter 19 ), global value chains and production networks (Chapter 20 ), global services sourcing (Chapter 21 ), and retail globalization (Chapter 22 ). All of these chapters describe opportunities, threats, and limits to corporate globalization, as well as their implications, and are complemented by Chapter 23 , which charts the development of corporate social responsibility.

As chapters on firms demonstrate, the new spatial architecture of firms enabled by globalization is key to the new spatial division of labour. This theme is developed further in Part V, devoted to ‘Work’. Chapter 24 opens this part with an overview of labour geography as shaped by restructuring, regulation, reorganization, and reproduction, followed by Chapter 25 , which delves into precariousness in work in relation to income and labour market polarization. Chapter 26 explores the recent shift in urban and regional research towards talent, human capital, and skills. Part V concludes with Chapter 27 , which extends the theme of skill, by exploring the politics of skill and the contribution of immigrant workers to collective learning in host countries and regions.

The all-permeating significance of ‘Finance’ to understanding economic geographies of the twenty-first century is the focus of Part VI. On the empirical front, readers will engage in a discussion of the diffusion of subprime lending (Chapter 28 ); the expansion of offshore finance and investment banking (Chapter 29 ); the rise of digital finance, including high-frequency trading and bitcoin (Chapter 30 ); growing interconnectedness and complexity in investment networks, which paradoxically make finance more disconnected in terms of purpose and control (Chapter 31 ); financialization of everyday life (Chapter 32 ); and growing presence of private capital and diverse non-state organizational structures in the provision of infrastructure (Chapter 33 ). To make sense of the changing world of finance, contributors to this part propose new conceptual frameworks for financial geography, including a spatial analysis of financial instability built on Hyman Minsky’s approach (Chapter 28 ); the concept of Global Financial Networks, focusing on financial and business services as agents of financialization (Chapter 29 ); ‘organic finance’ to move away from the overly processed and engineered products (Chapter 31 ); and a functional model of infrastructure analysis focused on capital, organizational, and regulatory structures (Chapter 33 ).

Chapter 34 on the financialization of commodity markets takes us into Part VII on ‘Resources and the Environment’. Following this important segue, Chapter 35 outlines an agenda for economic geographers to take a more central role in the study of climate change and in broader, interdisciplinary conversations about the meaning and implications of the Anthropocene. Chapter 36 zooms in on the development and shortcomings of carbon markets, proposing a novel framework for analysing the spatial and temporal dynamics of value. Resource governance is the focus of Chapters 37 and 38, which consider long-term resource scarcity and resource periphery, respectively, with Chapter 37 discussing the idea of aggregate natural capital, operationalized through a balance sheet and risk register. Chapter 38 , in turn, draws attention to resource-driven economies in the developing world, changing trends, and the way resource peripheries are enmeshed in the global economy. Part VII ends with emphasis on energy transitions, including the recent boom in shale oil and gas extraction, and how these can be conceptualized through the lens of evolutionary economic geography and other complementary perspectives (Chapter 39 ).

Addressing the dangers of inequality, instability, and environmental crisis head on, the volume concludes with ‘Strategies for Development’. Following on from Part VII, Part VIII starts with green growth (Chapter 40 ), defined as a long-run increase in GDP alongside the enhancement, or at least protection, of natural capital. The following two chapters shift emphasis to equity. Chapter 41 develops a conceptualization of ‘equitable economic growth’, and provides insights into the operationalization of this concept in the Global South, focusing specifically on the suitability of localized equitable economic growth strategies. Chapter 42 explores the idea of ‘just growth’, whereby a floor for equity is created by providing a safety net and/or building new capabilities, accompanied by strong local participation and a national welfare state. The theme of community development is extended in Chapter 43 , which focuses on ‘third-sector intermediaries’ and how they contribute to the evolving practices of self-organizing within local communities. Chapter 44 demonstrates how collaboration among communities can contribute to more inclusive development through the operation of ‘innovation highways’. The volume ends with Chapter 45 , which examines the relationship between economic shocks and resilience and the process of uneven regional development.

The ‘new’ in the title of the Handbook was central to its constitution. Out of sixty-five contributors only nine (including three editors) are the same as in the first handbook. A third of all contributors are women, and a third of all contributors started their academic careers after 2000. Authors of this volume work in ten different countries, based in a wide range of departments, including sociology, politics, management, economics, urban planning, business, and public policy schools, in addition to geography. The diversity of topics and styles reflects the diversity of its contributors. Within a broad remit of reviewing state-of-the-art literature, mapping new economic developments, and setting agendas, we gave the authors freedom to choose their style and emphasis.

This perspective presented in the handbook is at the same time grounded in theory and in the experiences of particular places. We thought it important to keep a balance between nomothetic and idiographic approaches, between theory and empirics. Some may say that mapping takes too long, and before you finish it, it is out of date, so it is better to focus on new conceptual developments and apply them to selected empirical illustrations, rather than trying to map the world economy in any systematic way. In response, we would like to quote an anecdote used by President John F. Kennedy:

The great French Marshal Lyautey once asked his gardener to plant a tree. The gardener objected that the tree was slow-growing and would not reach maturity for 100 years. The marshal replied: In that case, there is no time to lose, plant it this afternoon. ( Forbes, 2016 )

Answering the question where may feel tedious, time-consuming, and perhaps at times unsatisfactory. But if we do not map the world economy, in a broad sense of the term ‘mapping’, in order to explain the map and its implications, who else will, and what will be our distinctive contribution? Where is the centre of economic geography.

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Investigating the Role of Geography in Economics

Three men and one women in business attire.

Hannah Rubinton, an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

Combining macroeconomic questions with economic geography is a key research interest for Hannah Rubinton , an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. She’s currently examining how geography might affect one’s college attainment.

For example, a 17-year-old living in Kentucky, where the skill premium is very low, may face a different incentive to attend college than someone living in New York, where the skill premium is very high, she said in a recent podcast.

“And so the question we’re looking at is how those differences in the local skill premium people are facing can lead to different choices for people to become college educated and what that means for the economy in terms of patterns of intergenerational mobility and efficiency and equality,” she said.

Being able to mix academic research and policy work is one reason why she enjoys working for the Federal Reserve, which also happened to be the place that led her to graduate school.

Before getting her doctorate, she was a research associate (RA) at the New York Fed. There she found mentors who encouraged her to pursue graduate school, Rubinton said.

In fact, Rubinton encourages recent college graduates in economics to apply for an RA position before starting graduate school.

“It’s a great job because, even if you decide that you don’t like it and you don’t want to go to grad school, you’ve learned so many skills, and you have so many different things open to you that it’s really just opening doors,” she said.

In a Women in Economics Podcast Series episode , Rubinton talked about the role of mentoring in shaping your career path, the importance of diversity in economics, and how she juggled newborns and research in graduate school.

Laura Girresch: Hello. I’m Laura Girresch, and you’re listening to the Women in Economics Podcast Series from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Today, I’m speaking with Hannah Rubinton , an economist at the St. Louis Fed. Thanks for joining us today, Hannah.

Hannah Rubinton: Thanks for having me.

Girresch: So you joined the St. Louis Fed as an economist just last year, so I’m interested in hearing more about the work you’re doing and your role at the St. Louis Fed.

Rubinton: Yeah. So I started a year ago or so, and I just love it so far. It’s a mix of a continuation of what I did in my graduate studies, so academic research and policy work and also education outreach work. So the policy work is still very sort of research-oriented. It’s writing about various topics in economics with more of a focus on current events or written for a broader audience than academic work. And I also get to do some education outreach like giving a talk to APECON professors, which was really fun, and to high school history teachers. And the academic work is kind of a continuation of my grad school work, so trying to publish my dissertation in economic journals and working on new projects as research questions come up.

Girresch: So your research interests include macroeconomics, economic geography, and you’ve done some interesting research about business dynamism and city size. Could you tell me what’s your read of those research topics?

Rubinton: So I started working on business dynamism when I was an RA at the New York Fed. And so, by business dynamism, we mean the rates at which firms enter the market, the rates at which they exit, that rates that workers move between firms, the rate they transition into unemployment or employment. And I started researching this with an economist at the New York Fed while I was there, and he had several papers on this topic. And I thought it was really interesting because, fundamentally, it’s an indicator of productivity growth and how well we’re reallocating resources from less productive firms to more productive firms.

And then, when I was at Princeton as a grad student, an economist came to present her paper, Elisa Giannone, and her paper, she showed that since 1980 in the United States, places have begun to diverge, particularly for high-skilled workers. So up until that point, it had been the case that poor places in the United States were catching up to richer places, so we saw convergence across these places. And then after 1980, we started to see divergence. And she gave this talk. It was around the time of the 2016 election, and there was a lot of discussion on the news of geographic polarization and how that was influencing our politics, and so I started to think about this geographic divergence question and thought it was really interesting.

And so because dynamism is sort of a reflective of productivity growth, I sort of set out to see if there was a connection between the two, between business dynamism and divergence. And that’s how I started looking at these changing trends. So what I find is that in 1980, big and small cities were really similar in their patterns of business dynamism, and then, today, that’s changed, so big cities are much more dynamic than smaller cities. And I wanted to know how this is potentially influencing productivity growth and why this is happening.

Girresch: So you studied economics and mathematics at McGill University, and then you went on to get your PhD in econ from Princeton University. So how did you come to study economics?

Rubinton: So I actually decided to study economics before I even got to undergrad. I really liked math in high school, and then I also really liked my class in AP political science, and so I just thought econ would be a nice combination of the two. Then the other thing you need to know is that I’m really stubborn, so I just stuck with it. And even when in undergrad, sometimes, I thought economics was a little unsatisfying. The models are very simple. You’re abstracting for a lot. You’re missing important dimensions of inequality and heterogeneity or the differences amongst people. And there’s a reason for this. It’s because it’s really simple, and you need to sort of distill it down in a way that you can teach to a broad population. But even when I was frustrated, I think I saw that economics was this great tool for trying to understand the world, and I really wanted to understand, so I just kept going. And I’m stubborn, so I stuck with it, and that’s how you end up in a PhD program.

Girresch: Did you think about changing from economics at some point?

Rubinton: Yes, many times. Yeah. I thought about going into math or engineering. Yeah, I just, whenever I thought about that, it was sort of missing the sort of political science, social science dimension of what do we actually care about? And it’s people and economic growth and poverty and the unemployment and these things that really affect people’s lives and wellbeing.

Girresch: Yeah. Absolutely.

Rubinton: So I think I just kept wanting to understand those things. They’re very abstract things. I don’t know that I understand them now, but we try our best, and so I stuck with it.

Girresch: And here you are. We’re glad you made it through.

Rubinton: Yes. Me too.

Girresch: So, at Princeton, were there many women in your program?

Rubinton: I don’t know how you define many. So in a cohort of about 27 or 28, there were around 7 of us, so about 25% of us were women. I think a decent number for a top econ PhD program. I’d also point out that when I got there, the faculty in macro and trade was entirely male. There was not a single female economist in those sub-fields. They added a junior female macroeconomist my third year, so, yeah, it was pretty male I guess I would say.

Girresch: Well, so since this is the Women in Economics Podcast Series, what was your experience like as a woman studying that subject in what I imagine had to be a super competitive program, male dominated. What were some of the challenges you faced along the way?

Rubinton: So I do think that there was a very competitive feeling to it at times. I don’t know if that was specific to my cohort. Obviously, there’s a wide range of experiences people have in PhD programs, and I definitely felt a need to prove myself. when I look back on it, I’m sure that I missed out on many opportunities to learn because I felt the need to sort of always be proving myself. And so that’s something I regret, but I think it’s definitely a consequence of that type of environment. And I think another thing that you need to understand about PhDs and so let me not let this discourage any young female student who’s thinking about going to get one but let me just say what I think is true about them.

So I think what you need to understand is that it can be a very uncomfortable experience at times. So you’re trying to do something new. You’re trying to answer a new question or answer an old question in a new way. You’re trying to push the research frontier forward. And no matter what you do, you’re going to be questioned about it -- especially in economics where there’s no perfect model and very reasonable people can disagree about the best ways to do things, everyone’s going to say to you, “Why did you do it like that? Why didn’t you do it this way? Why did you make this choice? Why didn’t you do something completely different?”

And so it’s important to remember that this questioning is really good because it’s going to help you to improve, but it’s also really hard to endure that for a long period of time while you’re feeling very uncertain. So I think that for everybody who goes through PhD you’re going to end up in sort of a crisis of confidence at some point. And my hypothesis is that this is going to affect women more than it affects men. So this is not something I can prove, but it’s just a conjecture. But that’s a challenge that everyone will face, but, particularly, might fall on women a little harder.

Girresch: Mm-hmm.

Rubinton: So I guess I can also mention just another challenge that is very specific to women is that during my PhD, I had kids, so I had one during my third year and another...

Girresch: Wow.

Rubinton: Well, I was pregnant during my final year. So that’s very much a dimension...

Girresch: Oh my goodness.

Rubinton: …that I think even—I had male classmates who had kids, I will say, but it’s a completely different experience, I think, if you’re a woman. And so I think I had a lot more obligations outside the PhD program than most of my classmates did and at times, this was a blessing, and, at times, it was definitely a challenge.

Rubinton: But, of course, very rewarding.

Girresch: So what was that like having small kids in a competitive PhD program?

Rubinton: At times, it was really hard, particularly when I had a deadline. I used to drive my husband crazy because we would often walk together to go pick up our daughter, Ruth, from daycare, and he would text me, and he would say, “Are you leaving?” And I’d say, “Five more minutes,” and I’d get distracted, and then I would be late. And he would get so frustrated with me and I think the thing is when you’re working on some of these models and stuff, I can get so obsessed. You’re working on some math or some code, and you have a bug, and you’re just like, “I need to figure this out. I need to figure this out.” And you don’t want to walk away from it.

But I can’t tell you the number of times where I’ve been forced to walk away from it because I had a kid, and then I figured out the problem immediately the next morning. And sometimes, walking away from it is the best thing you can do, so I really feel like, at times, it was actually something helpful to have kids. And I think it keeps your perspective much healthier. A lot of people, when they’re in grad school, are very ambitious. And I think that’s good, but there’s certainly a place for other things in life than ambition. So I  prioritize different things, and you’re still able to do it, and it’s okay.

Girresch: Yeah. That’s great life advice, actually.

Rubinton: I don’t know who I am to give anybody life advice, but that’s…

Girresch: Anybody considering studying economics, potentially, in that situation, that’s great advice. So as a relatively new PhD, how do you think your experience compares to women who maybe came before you in previous decades?

Rubinton: I do think things have improved. I think that there’s more of an awareness of the issues that face women and an effort to improve the mentorship, and we do have a lot of great examples of amazing senior female economists. Even though I didn’t have any at Princeton in my fields, they were out there doing great work, and so I had that example. That being said, the numbers sort of don’t reflect that, right? The share of women in economics has sort of stagnated in a lot of places, and I don’t really know why that is. One thing that’s for sure different is, you know, I was listening to one of your podcasts recently with Brigitte Madrian , and she was talking about how when she was an assistant professor—not even a grad student but an assistant professor at the University of Chicago—there was no maternity leave policy. And, I mean, that’s baffling, right? To think, today, that in a professional field, there’d be no maternity leave policy?

And so, a few years ago, when I was a grad student, I did have a maternity leave policy, and so I guess she and others like her prompted some change there, and so I think my experience was much easier, I’m sure, than hers. There was also another woman in my program, a year ahead of me, who had kids, so it wasn’t typical I would say, but it wasn’t unheard of, and so it felt okay. And, really, her example was I think really beneficial to me in making it feel like what I was doing was okay. And no one said anything to me about it, so I think it would’ve been expected to maybe hear some snide comments about having a baby during your PhD. Some people might have thought that was a dumb decision, but no one said anything, which I think is as much as I can ask for.

Girresch: The last thing you need when you’re, you know, trying to push yourself through and maintain that stubbornness and stay in the program is anybody to make you doubt personal decisions like that.

Rubinton: Exactly. Yeah.

Girresch: Did you have mentors along the way who, you know, kept you going through some of the personal challenges and also just the academic rigor and those times you questioned whether you should stick with economics?

Rubinton: Yes, definitely. I had mentors going back to undergrad. I worked for an amazing female economist, Jenny Hunt, and she was very encouraging always and would give me lots of advice. And I had great mentors when I was an RA at the New York Fed, Ben Pugsley in particular, who was an economist I worked for and became a coauthor and a friend, and he always very encouraging. And then when I was in grad school, I had great advisors who were very generous with their time. My committee chair in particular, Richard Rogerson, was just the most amazing advisor you could ever hope for and just very supportive of me and my work and, I would say, my family life. So I think I got very lucky in that, though I would also mention, you know, that, when I was an undergrad, I didn’t set out to do a PhD in economics.

Girresch: Really?

Rubinton: I just kept going with the opportunities that were put in front of me, so these mentors are very important in that sense. If it weren’t for Jenny Hunt, I would not have gotten an RA-ship at the New York Fed, and if I hadn’t of gotten an RA-ship at the New York Fed, I would not have gone to grad school. And if I hadn’t of been an RA at the New York Fed, then I wouldn’t have had Ben and Mark and Argia pushing me to go to grad school from there. So I didn’t just set out to do a PhD. I just sort of followed this path which, you know, at every step of the way just took the next opportunity that I thought would be interesting. And I think also that’s a great way to do grad school because there’s so many opportunities that are open to you after you graduate. It would be a very stressful grad school career to sit there and think, “I’m only going to be happy if I’m a professor at Harvard or Princeton,” right? When, in reality, there’s so many different things you can do afterwards, and so as long as you can be happy with any of them, you’re in a great place.

Girresch: Yeah. It blows me away just how much you can do with a degree in economics.

Rubinton: Yeah, and it’s changing so much. You find economists now in Silicon Valley and finance and government policy, journalism, everywhere.

Girresch: Why do you think it’s important for more women and underrepresented minorities to enter the field of economics, and what do you think needs to happen to do so?

Rubinton: Yeah. So there’s two reasons I think it’s actually really important. So the first reason is because we want the best talent we can have, right, in our field because our field is interesting and important, and we have all these important questions that are difficult to answer, and we want answers. And so we want the best people we can. And if you put up barriers to entering, you’re not going to get the best talent, right? And there was even a recent paper in Econometrica that talks about this more broadly for the US economy. They call it the misallocation of talent in the US, and they say that, you know, since the ’60s, that these racial and gender barriers have declined has contributed a lot to economic growth in the US.

So they give the example of doctors, right? So it used to be the case that it was pretty much all male. Today, it’s closer to like 50/50 of entering med school students. And so if 50/50 is correct because women should be in medicine and they’re talented at it, then that means that in the 1960s, when women were kept from it, we were keeping the best talent out of that field. And as economists, we’re like, how can we use our resources the best? What’s the optimal allocation? The optimal allocation includes very talented women and minorities.

And then another thing, though, that I think is super important is in economics, a really important part of the job is getting to define the question and what’s important. So when you think about monetary policy, for example, and we think about the unemployment rate, well, there’s a big racial gap in the unemployment rate, so do we think about the aggregate number, or do we think about the unemployment rate for African Americans, which is slower to recover after a recession? Whether we choose to focus on both or one is a question that we get to answer, and we get to decide whether or not that question even gets asked. And so having different voices is key to making sure that that perspective is taken into account.

What can be done about it? I don't know. So I’m optimistic that it’s getting better, that there’s more initiatives to mentor and make sure that the pipeline is more diverse, so I’m hopeful that it will continue to improve. And then I think, you know, an especially important thing is, you know, as we get more and more women and people of color in senior positions where they can mentor and help those that are coming up below them, I think that will be very important.

Girresch: Absolutely. Yeah. Thanks for you take on that, for your observations. So can you tell me about any new research you’re working on now and maybe what we’ll see from you next?

Rubinton: Yeah. So I’m still really interested in combining these macroeconomic questions with economic geography. So I’m working on two papers that are focused on college attainment or human capital accumulation, which are really important macroeconomic questions, but I’m looking at them from sort of an economic geography standpoint. So the question sort of broadly is how does where you live and where you are at, say, age 17 affect the decision to go to college? And, in particular, this might have become more important as we know that places in the United States have started to diverge.

So if you’re a 17-year-old and you live in Kentucky where the skill premium is very low, you might have a very different incentive to go to college than if you live in New York where the skill premium is very high. And so the question we’re looking at is how those differences in the local skill premium people are facing can lead to different choices for people to become college educated and what that means for the economy in terms of patterns of intergenerational mobility and efficiency and equality.

Girresch: Well, that sounds really interesting. I look forward to reading it, and maybe you can come back on our podcast series to talk about it some time.

Rubinton: Yeah.

Girresch: So do you have any parting thoughts for women considering studying economics, since you’re recently through it yourself?

Rubinton: Well, so I would certainly encourage them to study economics, and I guess my biggest piece of practical advice is to go be an RA first, especially before grad school. It’s a great job because, even if you decide that you don’t like it and you don’t want to go to grad school, you’ve learned so many skills, and you have so many different things open to you that it’s really just opening doors. So when I was an RA in my RA cohort, maybe half of the people went on to grad school in economics, but other people went to grad school in statistics, computer science. Some people became lawyers. Some people became MBAs. Some people stayed at the Fed and worked in different jobs. Some people went to go work in finance or tech.

And opportunities were open, and it felt like they were everywhere. Oh, and some people, of course, went into policy, I should mention. So I think that it’s such a good way to see if you like it and see if you like the kind of work you’re doing. And then I really think that if you like the kind of work you’re doing as an RA, you should go to grad school, and whatever job you get afterwards, whether it be in tech or in academia or in policy, you’re going to like it, so just be open to all of those opportunities.

Girresch: Oh, that’s great advice.

Girresch: Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and spending the time to talk with us.

Rubinton: Great. Thanks for having me.

Girresch: To hear more from the Women in Economics Podcast Series , visit stlouisfed.org/womeninecon . You can also stream Women in Economics on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to your podcasts. Thanks for joining us today.

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The Economic Geography of Global Warming

Global warming is a worldwide and protracted phenomenon with heterogeneous local economic effects. In order to evaluate the aggregate and local economic consequences of higher temperatures, we propose a dynamic economic assessment model of the world economy with high spatial resolution. Our model features a number of mechanisms through which individuals can adapt to global warming, including costly trade and migration, and local technological innovations and natality rates. We quantify the model at a 1° × 1° resolution and estimate damage functions that determine the impact of temperature changes on a region’s fundamental productivity and amenities depending on local temperatures. Our baseline results show welfare losses as large as 15% in parts of Africa and Latin America but also high heterogeneity across locations, with northern regions in Siberia, Canada, and Alaska experiencing gains. Our results indicate large uncertainty about average welfare effects and point to migration and, to a lesser extent, innovation as important adaptation mechanisms. We use the model to assess the impact of carbon taxes, abatement technologies, and clean energy subsidies. Carbon taxes delay consumption of fossil fuels and help flatten the temperature curve but are much more effective when an abatement technology is forthcoming.

We thank Klaus Desmet, Per Krusell and participants at numerous seminars and conferences for their feedback. We also thank the International Economics Section at Princeton University for financial support. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.


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José-Luis Cruz & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2024. " The Economic Geography of Global Warming, " Review of Economic Studies, vol 91(2), pages 899-939.

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Economic Geography: The Integration of Regions and Nations

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Instructors searching for an advanced textbook on spatial economics would be well advised to consider Economic Geography: The Integration of Regions and Nations. This book provides a comprehensive and rigorous account of theories about the location of economic activity across space with an emphasis on the drivers of spatial inequalities. The authors take a macroapproach, looking at interregional inequality as opposed to inequality among neighbors. The specific aims of the book are threefold: (1) to detail and discuss the theories of trade and agglomeration, (2) to examine the various models and modeling approaches that are found in the literature, and (3) to provide an empirical evaluation of the main results of economic geography. The result is a theoretically and empirically rich work that will be of great value to advanced students of economic geography. The book is divided into three parts. To provide a context for later discussions, Part 1 presents a brief overview of the economic history of Europe since the Industrial Revolution , as well as a short discussion on the relative absence of space in economic theory. Part 2 contains the bulk of the book's content and presents a detailed discussion of the key models that are used to study agglomeration phenomena, including industry clusters and core-periphery patterns among countries and regions. Part 3 is less unified than Part 2, but generally focuses on more empirical issues, including the measurement of spatial concentration. The authors of the book are economists, and their discussion relies heavily on theoretical models of economic geography and their econometric estimations. A main theme of the book's narrative is the unification of trade theory and location theory, a merger that provides a unified framework for studying the uneven distribution of economic activity at different levels of spatial aggregation. The narrative begins with trade theory and the Dixit-Stiglitz model of monopolistic competition. It then moves on to the Dixit-Stiglitz-Krugman model, the core model of economic geography, which incorporates transportation costs and the mobility of workers. The book then outlines a variety of other models that have been proposed to extend and modify the core model. It also highlights the different model predictions with regard to regional inequality. The discussions of these models are organized to present a picture of the evolution of economic geography. The book has many strengths. In addition to a clear and detailed treatment of the benefits and setbacks that are associated with key models in economic geography, the authors provide a balanced discussion of the economic processes that fuel persistent regional inequalities. Their treatment of the agglomeration forces that are associated with increasing returns highlights the persistent importance of geography in the world economy. The authors also pay some attention to issues of spatial scale, including a discussion of how the geographic unit of analysis can influence research results. In addition, they use recent references in the empirical literature in economics to illustrate the models discussed in the book. Although I think this is a good book, some important things are missing. First, the book leaves out the story of what is happening in much of the world. The examples that are used focus almost exclusively on the experiences of the United States, Western Europe, and other countries in the core of the world economy. Although the theories should apply to other countries, we do not hear about them. Moreover, the directions for future research that the authors suggest have such data-intensive requirements that it is hard to see how 223 BOOK REVIEW 86(2):223–224.

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economic geography essay

How to Write a Geography Essay that Transcends Borders

economic geography essay

Have you ever found yourself floating effortlessly in the Dead Sea, that magical stretch of water between Israel and Jordan? It's the saltiest lake globally, turning you into a buoyant bobber without much effort. Now, just as geography unveils such fascinating quirks about our planet, writing an essay on this subject can be an equally intriguing venture.

Let's take a stroll through the world of geography essays together. We'll start by figuring out what exactly makes up a geography essay definition and then dive into the secrets of writing a great one. Along the way, we'll share some helpful tips, break down the important parts, and talk about why geography matters in today's world. Whether you're a student trying to do well in your geography class or just curious about why geography is important, this article is here for you. Let's get started!

Ready to Turn Your Passion for Places into an Epic Essay?

Geography geek or not, we've got your back. Let us craft your custom essay that's as intriguing as it is insightful!

Essential Factors When Writing a Geography Essay

A great essay comes from a good understanding of the topic. Let's share some tips to help you create an impressive essay.

  • Stick to What You Know : Pick geography topics that you're familiar with.
  • Think Global : Show how your chosen topic connects to bigger issues like climate change or cultural diversity.
  • Grab Attention : Choose a topic that interests you and your readers.
  • Show with Examples : Use real examples to explain geography concepts in your essay.
  • Stay on Track : Make sure everything in your essay relates to the main message.
  • Use Sources : Share your thoughts based on what reliable sources say.
  • Make it Real : Describe landscapes in a way that brings them to life for your readers.

In the next parts, our skilled writers, who you can buy essay from, will share a simple guide to help you write essays successfully!

Exploring What Is a Geography Essay

In simple terms, a geography essay is a well-organized explanation of geographic topics and ideas. It's more than just listing facts—it's a chance for you to showcase what you understand about geographical principles, processes, and their real-world impacts.

what is geography essay

  • Keep it Focused : Your essay should revolve around a specific topic or question in geography. This focus helps you stay on track and make your writing clear and relevant.
  • Grasp the Concepts : Geography essays should include important geographical ideas like spatial relationships, scale, location, and interactions. These concepts give you the tools to understand and explain the world.
  • Use Data : Geography relies on data and evidence. Bring in facts, maps, visuals, and statistics to support your points and show geographical patterns.
  • Think Critically : A good essay doesn't just share information; it digs into the details. Explore the nuances, root causes, and broader impacts to give a deeper insight. ‍
  • Connect to Reality: These essays often link theory with real-world issues. Whether you're talking about global warming, urbanization, cultural landscapes, or geopolitical shifts, these essays show why geography matters in our interconnected world.

How to Start a Geography Essay

Starting your essay in the right way not only grabs your readers' attention but also sets the stage for a well-organized and interesting exploration of your selected geography research paper topics .

  • Establish the Geography : Kick-off by placing your topic in a geographic context. Explain where and why this topic matters, considering both local and global perspectives.
  • Spark Interest : Draw your readers in by asking a thought-provoking question or sharing a surprising statistic related to your geography essay topics.
  • Give Background Info : Provide a quick overview of the subject to make sure your readers have the basic knowledge needed to follow your arguments.
  • Include a Quote : Think about using a fitting quote from a well-known geographer, researcher, or historical figure to add depth and credibility to your introduction.
  • Set the Tone : Decide on the tone of your essay—whether it's informative, analytical, or persuasive—and let that tone shine through in your introductory language and style.

Select a Subject You're Comfortable Discussing

Picking the right research paper topic in geography is a big deal—it can really shape how the whole writing journey goes. One smart move to kick off your research paper well is to go for a subject you genuinely feel comfortable talking about. Here's why it matters:

  • Expertise Shines : When your research paper topic matches what you already know and enjoy, your expertise shines through. You can use what you know to analyze and explain the subject better.
  • Stay Motivated : Choosing a topic that genuinely interests you, like doing a geography essay about earthquakes, can be a great source of motivation. This inner drive helps you stay engaged during the whole research and writing process, leading to a better end result.
  • Research Efficiency : Knowing your topic makes the research process smoother. You know where to find good sources, what keywords to use, and how to tell if information is reliable.
  • Confident Analysis : Understanding your topic well, say, when dealing with a geography essay about global warming, gives you confidence. This confidence comes through in your analysis, making it more convincing.
  • Boosted Creativity : Being comfortable with your topic can boost your creativity. You're more likely to come up with new ideas and unique perspectives when you're discussing something you're familiar with.

Let's explore a range of research topics that provide plenty of chances for thorough investigation and analysis. Feel free to choose the one that aligns with your interests and fits the particular focus of your research.

  • Microclimates in Urban Spaces: Analyzing Local Community Impacts
  • Geopolitics of Water Scarcity: Transboundary Water Conflict Case Study
  • Ecotourism in Unexplored Territories: Balancing Conservation and Development
  • Digital Cartography's Influence on Public Perception of Geographic Information
  • Role of Indigenous Knowledge in Sustainable Resource Management
  • Urban Heat Islands: Assessing Heat-Related Risks in Growing Cities
  • Climate Change Impact on Traditional Agricultural Practices in Vulnerable Regions
  • Geography of Infectious Diseases: Spatial Analysis of Disease Spread
  • Patterns of Renewable Energy Adoption: A Global Comparative Study
  • Cultural Landscapes in Transition: Globalization's Impact on Local Identities

Geography Essay Example

For a closer look at how to structure and compose an effective geography essay, we've put together a compelling example for your review. As you go through it, you'll discover the essential elements that contribute to making an essay both informative and engaging.

Exploring the Impact of River Dams on Ecosystems


Rivers are the lifeblood of many ecosystems, shaping landscapes and sustaining diverse forms of life. This essay delves into the intricate relationship between river dams and ecosystems, aiming to unravel the multifaceted consequences that altering natural watercourses can bring. By examining case studies and ecological principles, we seek to shed light on the complex web of interactions that define the impact of river dams on the environment.

River dams significantly modify the natural flow of water, creating reservoirs and altering the hydrological patterns downstream. This transformation often leads to changes in habitat availability for aquatic species. Case studies from various dam projects will be explored to illustrate the tangible effects on biodiversity and ecosystem structure.

Furthermore, many fish species rely on river systems for migration and spawning. Dams can present barriers to these natural processes, affecting fish populations and, consequently, the predators and prey in the broader food web. This section will examine how dams disrupt fish migration and explore potential mitigation strategies to minimize ecological consequences.

What's more, the alteration of river flow caused by dams influences water quality and sediment transport downstream. Sediment accumulation in reservoirs can have cascading effects on aquatic ecosystems. This part of the essay will delve into scientific studies highlighting changes in water quality and sedimentation patterns due to dam construction.

Beyond the ecological realm, the construction of river dams often has social and economic repercussions. Local communities dependent on rivers for their livelihoods may face challenges due to altered water regimes. Investigating case studies, we will explore the human dimension of the impact of river dams on communities and economies.


In summary, the complex interplay between river dams and ecosystems demands thoughtful reflection. This essay has offered a glimpse into the diverse outcomes that come with changing natural watercourses, underscoring the importance of a comprehensive grasp of the ecological, social, and economic aspects at play. By delving into the intricate realm of river dam impacts, we acquire valuable insights into the nuanced equilibrium between human progress and environmental sustainability.

How to Write a Geography Essay: Insights and Pointers

When it comes to writing geography essays, it's not just about throwing out facts and figures. It's about digging deeper into geographical ideas, understanding how things relate, and sharing your findings in a way that makes sense. Our paper writing service experts are here to give you some handy tips:

  • Dig Deep with Research: Start by really getting into your topic. Collect data, look at maps, and read up on what others have to say about it.
  • Sort Your Thoughts: Organize your essay so it's easy to follow. That usually means having an intro, some main parts, and a wrap-up at the end. Keep it logical.
  • Think and Talk Analysis: Get into the nitty-gritty of your analysis. Use geography ideas to explain your data and give your own take on things.
  • Show Your Proof: Back up what you're saying with proof. Throw in maps, charts, or stories to make your points and show patterns.
  • Question Everything: Think hard about different opinions and what your findings might mean in the big picture. Don't be afraid to question things and see where it takes you.

Breaking Down the Geography Essay Structure

A well-formatted geography essay structure is like a well-organized map – it guides readers through your analysis with clarity and purpose. To effectively break down the structure, consider the following key insights:

  • Geographical Essence: Always consider the geographical context when framing your essay format . How does the landscape influence the subject, and in turn, how does it fit into the broader global narrative?
  • Tailored Tone for Audience: Reflect on your audience. Are you speaking to geography enthusiasts, educators, policymakers, or the general public? Adjust your language and explanations to match their level of familiarity and interest.
  • Conciseness and Wordplay: Maintain clarity by adhering to word limits and embracing conciseness. Focus on delivering pertinent information with a touch of engaging wordplay to captivate your readers.
  • Innovative Perspectives: Aim for innovation in your analysis. While leveraging existing research, offer a fresh viewpoint or a unique twist on the topic to keep your essay from blending into the background.
  • Ethical Dimensions: If your research involves human subjects, sensitive data, or fieldwork, be conscientious of ethical considerations. Seek necessary approvals, ensuring that your research adheres to ethical standards.
  • Geographic Fluency: Demonstrate a keen grasp of geographic fluency in your essay. Showcase not just knowledge of concepts but an understanding of the interconnectedness of regions, adding depth to your exploration.
  • Visual Appeal: Consider incorporating visual elements such as maps, charts, or images to enhance your essay's visual appeal. A well-chosen visual can often communicate complex geographical information more effectively.
  • Future Implications: Extend your analysis to contemplate the future implications of the geographical factors you're discussing. How might current trends shape future landscapes, and what role does your topic play in this evolving narrative?

Geography Essay Introduction

The introductory paragraph is the starting point of your essay, where you contextualize, captivate your audience, and introduce your central thesis statement.

For instance, if your essay explores the effects of rising sea levels on coastal communities, your introduction could commence with a striking observation: ' In the coastal realms, where communities have thrived for generations, the encroaching rise of sea levels is transforming the very landscapes that have long shaped human existence. This unsettling shift is a direct consequence of global warming, a phenomenon casting profound implications across the globe .'

The core section of your essay, the main body, encompasses several paragraphs that house your analysis, arguments, evidence, and illustrations.

Within a segment examining the consequences of industrial pollution on river ecosystems, you might assert: ' Industrial effluents discharged into rivers represent a significant contributor to pollution. As evidenced by studies [cite], the toxic chemicals and pollutants released into water bodies pose severe threats to aquatic life, disrupting ecosystems and endangering the delicate balance of river environments. '

Geography Essay Summing Up

When wondering how to write a conclusion for an essay , remember that it acts as the final chapter, summarizing crucial findings, reiterating your thesis, and offering concluding insights or implications.

In a conclusion addressing the impact of desertification on agricultural communities, you might recapitulate: ' Surveying the intricate interplay between environmental degradation and agricultural sustainability in regions affected by desertification reveals a nuanced narrative. Despite the adversities posed, there exists an imperative for innovative solutions and adaptive strategies to ensure the resilience of agricultural communities in the face of advancing desertification. '

More Tips for Writing a Geography Essay

Here are some special tips on writing a geography essay that can enhance the depth and sophistication of your entire piece, showcasing a thorough grasp of geographic concepts and methods.

  • Embrace diverse viewpoints – consider cultural, economic, and environmental angles for a richer analysis.
  • Use geospatial tools like maps and satellite imagery to visually enhance your essay and emphasize spatial relationships.
  • Bolster your arguments with real case studies to illustrate the practical application of your geographical analysis.
  • Integrate recent global events into your essay to showcase relevance and stay aligned with the dynamic nature of geography.
  • Explore intersections with other disciplines, providing a more comprehensive understanding of your topic.
  • Highlight how local phenomena contribute to broader global narratives, emphasizing interconnectedness.
  • If you're writing a cause and effect essay , compare urbanization trends in different cities to show the reasons and outcomes.

Why Geography Matters as a Subject of Study

Geography goes way beyond just maps and names of places; it's a lively and important field that helps us make sense of the world. Here's why geography matters:

why geography matters

  • Knowing Spaces: It helps us understand how places, regions, and landscapes connect. This understanding is crucial for making smart choices about things like where to put resources, plan cities, and handle emergencies.
  • Being a Global Citizen: It encourages us to appreciate different cultures and how we're all connected. It helps us see how big events, like climate change or pandemics, affect countries locally and globally.
  • Taking Care of Nature: This subject gives us insights into environmental problems and solutions. It teaches us about issues like cutting down forests, losing habitats, and climate change so we can make choices that help our planet.
  • Thinking Smart: Geography makes us think critically. It involves looking at complex information, considering different opinions, and drawing smart conclusions. These skills are handy in lots of jobs.
  • Fixing Real Problems: What we learn in geography helps us solve actual problems – from designing better roads to managing water wisely and dealing with natural disasters.
  • Making Rules and Plans: It has a say in making rules and plans. It guides decisions about how to use land, build things, and take care of resources.
  • Loving Different Cultures: Geography helps us appreciate all kinds of cultures and how they relate to the environment. It lets us understand why places are important and how their histories have shaped them.

Ready to Explore the World without Leaving Your Desk?

Let our expert writers be your guides on this geographical voyage and map out your academic success together!

To sum it up, geography gives you the knowledge and skills to navigate our complex and connected world. Writing a geography essay helps you make smart choices, promote sustainability, and face global challenges. Whether you're exploring local landscapes or looking at global issues, geography lays the groundwork for understanding our planet and its diverse inhabitants through the art of essay writing.

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