Volume 46 Number 182,
July-September 2015

The Current Links Between Geography and Economics. An Anthology Commenting on the Contemporary Debate, Marcos Valdivia and Javier Delgadillo (coords.), National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico, 2013.

The two coordinators of this book address a topic oft-forgotten by the majority of economists: the territory and its link to economic activities. The texts chosen constitute a departure from the traditional approach of conceiving of the territory as a neutral place, because it can in fact hinder or facilitate productive processes, as well as the circulation of goods.

The study of territories and their relationship to the economy tends to draw on a newer genre of research, the New Economic Geography (NEG), which emerged at the end of the 1980s and grapples with the concentration of population and production in specific regions. One of its principal advocates is Paul Krugman, who, in the 1990s, published a series of articles revisiting the ideas of economic geography by looking at the consequences that would result from stronger European integration.

The term "new" was ascribed to the field by its principal proponents to mark it as a rediscovery, and has thus been fiercely criticized by economic geography scholars who hold that its only merit is to have provided a framework for ideas that already existed and have been documented in books for years as part of the general equilibrium model.

Through critical articles, the authors in this anthology manage to close the existing information gap and help readers to understand the influence of space on economic processes, calling on us to stop overlooking the role of the geographic environment and location in the theoretical study of economic processes. NEG is a fertile field of study that can contribute ideas that have not been fully explored in the economic literature. One such example would be the cultural aspects of societies or the role of history in the construction of cities.

With a didactic tone, the anthology offers a clear explanation of the dynamics and evolution of cities, critiquing how the dominant schools of thought treat the role of real spaces in a highly abstract and disengaged fashion. It provides theoretical explanations with clarity of why cities are born, how they become central hubs of economic activity, and why some eventually disappear.

The book is divided into three sections: the first consists of seven texts that explain the theoretical fundamentals of NEG as a point of departure for the seminal work published by Krugman in 1991 ("Increasing Returns and Economic Geography") whose importance resides in the fact that for the first time, a work on economic geography was recognized by the dominant schools of thought because its ideas were mathematically formulated. The second section consists of eight chapters that contain critical reactions to this new area of research. The third is also made up of eight texts that bring together the contemporary approaches of NEG from a variety of perspectives, providing readers with a wealth of analytical tools to better understand the current state of the debate.

It was 25 years ago that NEG made its formal debut in the academic world and throughout these years, it has evolved and become consolidated, such that in the years to come, the works in this field will be a testament to a compelling confrontation of ideas that will encourage readers to critically evaluate a topic that emerged not so long ago.

Francisco González

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Published in Mexico, 2012-2018 © D.R. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM).
PROBLEMAS DEL DESARROLLO. REVISTA LATINOAMERICANA DE ECONOMÍA, Volume 49, Number 195 October-December 2018 is a quarterly publication by the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán, CP 04510, México, D.F. by Instituto de Investigaciones Económicas, Circuito Mario de la Cueva, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán,
CP 04510, México, D.F. Tel (52 55) 56 23 01 05 and (52 55) 56 24 23 39, fax (52 55) 56 23 00 97, www.probdes.iiec.unam.mx, revprode@unam.mx. Journal Editor: Moritz Cruz. Reservation of rights to exclusive use of the title: 04-2012-070613560300-203, ISSN: pending. Person responsible for the latest update of this issue: Minerva García, Circuito Maestro Mario de la Cueva s/n, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán, CP 04510, México D.F., latest update: January 9th, 2019.
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