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regional cycles

  Fluctuations or cyclical waves in the level of economic activity in a region, usually measured by industrial output or unemployment rates. Such fluctuations can be very long-term, as with Kondratieff cycles, or shorter-term, reflecting both seasonal variations in the demand for labour and the regional impact of national business cycles of expansion and recession. Descriptive studies of regional cycles, measuring and comparing their amplitudes, and the timings of peaks for different regions, were done in the early years of regional science, but the major work was done in the 1970s and later.

There have been two main approaches. The first (mainly by economists) has involved building regional (e.g. the State of California) or multiregional (e.g. the States of the USA) econometric models. These relate macroeconomic variables of output, expenditure and employment at the regional level to each other, parallel to the development of national Keynesian econometric models, and they also relate regional variables to national and other-region variables (cf. neo-classical economics). Such models now exist for many countries and regions. The second approach (mainly by geographers) has focused on the statistical modelling of the magnitude and spatial diffusion of regional cycles, mainly using unemployment rates, and comparing the timing and cyclical amplitude for different cities and regions. The regional and urban time series are related to each other using the regression methods of lead-lag models, space-time forecasting and also spectral analysis to look separately at seasonal and business-cycle effects. Differences in magnitude and timing can then be linked to regional industrial structure and the hierarchical and spatial diffusion of the cycles. The techniques for regional cycles have also been applied to the geography of epidemics. (LWH)

Suggested Reading Glickman, N.J. 1997: Econometric analysis of regional systems: explorations in model building and policy analysis. New York and London: Academic Press.



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