Place is one of the most important determinants of welfare. Simply by moving from the countryside to the city, or from a poor to a rich country, a person can greatly increase returns to labor or access to services. Yet, the study of the role of place in development was long neglected in mainstream economics. This changed significantly over the last 15 years or so and in 2009 spatial issues in development became the topic of the World Development Report Reshaping Economic Geography.
In this Policy Research Talk, Uwe Deichmann revisited some of the themes covered in the 2009 WDR and discuss recent research and policy implications in two areas at the core of economic geography: What drives urbanization and why do we see different urbanization patterns across world regions? And what role does transport infrastructure play for the spatial organization of economic activity and consequently for economic growth?