First published in 1970, the third edition of this book appeared in 1985. In 1999 copyright was transferred from Knopf to the Hoover Family Trust and Frank Giarratani. The book appears on this Web site with their permission. The book explains many of the classic
approaches to regional economics.
Table of Contents Chapter One Web Book Home

An Introduction to Regional Economics
Edgar M. Hoover and Frank Giarratani

This book is designed primarily to serve as a college text for the student's first course in regional economics, at either the upperclass or the graduate level and running for either one or two terms. It presupposes no previous exposure to regional economics as such, nor anything beyond a minimal background in basic economics, nor any advanced mathematical expertise. Most of the book, and all of its essential content, should be comprehensible to the "intelligent layman." The wide range of topics covered is intended to serve the needs of the student who will not be going on to more advanced and specialized courses in the regional field; those who do use it as a stepping stone to such later work will find here some useful previews of questions (especially in regional growth analysis and in urban economics) to which they will be addressing themselves more intensively later.

Readers already acquainted with regional economics may notice two points on which there is more emphasis in this book than in most similar works.

One of these is the generality of the principles of the location of activities. Some location theories have been framed in terms of manufacturing industries alone, and others more broadly in terms of business in a freely competitive economy. We have tried to extend the coverage to such nonbusiness activities as nonprofit and public institutions and their services, as well as residence; and we use the term "activity" rather than "industry" to signal these wide terms of reference. Similarly, we have adopted the broadest possible extension of the idea of transportation to embrace conveyance not only of goods but also of such intangibles as services, energy, and information. The broad term "transfer" signals this extension.

Second, we have tried to maintain some of the balance and symmetry between supply and demand that is so dear to the economist's heart. Various formulations of location theory, spatial competition, and regional economic growth have been subject to criticism on the ground that they are too exclusively concerned with demand or with supply. We have tried consistently to see and show both sides of the picture, as will be evident particularly in some of the early chapters on location theory and in the treatment of regional growth processes in Chapter 11.

This book gives some attention to the "microlocational" problem of location choice by the individual business firm or other unit but is not designed to compete with the many excellent manuals providing advice on how to go about finding a profitable location. It is, we hope, somewhat more directly relevant to the concerns of planners and public policy makers. But it is really most explicitly addressed to that ultimate policy maker, the informed and responsible citizen.

We have tried to rely on principles of economic analysis, so as to expose underlying assumptions and their implications. Sections of the book concerning location and the theory of production, spatial pricing and market areas, agglomeration economies, and residential location reflect this emphasis most clearly. Other topics include discussions of the effects of higher energy prices and technological advances in electronics and communications on location decisions, the nonmetropolitan turnaround in population growth, techniques for regional delineation, regions in transition, and the problems of urban poverty and fiscal distress in central cities.