Economic Geography

The final paper is worth 50 points and is due December 14th at 8PM on Canvas. This individual paper must be at least 4000 words (bibliography excluded) to fulfill the University of Florida’s Writing and Math Requirement. Use an easy-to-read font such as 12 point Times New Roman or 11 point Arial. Your manuscript can be single- or double-spaced.


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The aim of this analytical paper is to apply some of the most fundamental concepts discussed in class to a region of your choice. The paper should include an introduction where you formulate an explicit research question, a literature review in which you discuss how the concept(s) have been addressed by other scholars so far, an empirical section in which you apply the concept(s) to your region, a conclusion, and a bibliography which must contain several scientific articles or books. Unlike the purely descriptive mid-term paper, the final paper aims at analyzing your region.

The most crucial aspect of the paper is to be able to identify a geographical concept that can explain the recent economic development of your region. For example, gentrification can be used to explain how and why city-regions change; local economic development can be used to understand why certain peripheral regions are struggling to adapt to globalization; the new economy or creative class can help understand how certain regions have transformed into highly-specialized economic clusters; the Butler Model can help understand the transformations of tourist areas. A list of more than 30 concepts is provided on Canvas.


The paper should be divided into 5 main sections.

Introduction (10 points)

The first paragraph can introduce the concept and explain why it is an important concept in economic geography. The second paragraph can introduce the case study and explain why the concept is relevant in this region. The third paragraph can discuss your main research question and your hypothesis.

The research question should be explicit and brief. There should be only one research question in your paper and you should only discuss one case study. Ideally, your research question should be feasible and manageable in scope (data availability, time), interesting, novel (confirms or extends previous findings), and relevant to scientific knowledge or policy.
The hypothesis must discuss what you think will happen. For example, urban growth should reflect labor skills, firms should move where labor is cheap, regions lacking high-tech firms will not cope with technological changes, states can promote linkages between universities and firms, etc.

The last paragraph can discuss the structure of the paper itself. Examples are available on Canvas under Files> Examples

Literature review (10 points)

The literature review should define the concept, explain who created and developed it, discuss its importance, explain how to measure it and how it has been applied to different regions in the world. This review should not discuss the case study! The optional assignment can be used to draft this section.

Empirical section (15 points)

This is the main section of the paper. Its main purpose is to apply the concept to your region to explain its recent economic evolution. The section should be illustrated with tables, graphs and maps. Each figure must be discussed in the text, have a title, and a source. If your concept has several dimensions, explain how each of them applies to your case study. Make sure that you divide the section into several sub-sections, and work on the transitions between sub-sections. Your paper should have a common thread: explain why you focus on certain topics and improve the paragraph transitions in your writing.

Conclusion (10 points)

Start by explaining what was the main objective of the paper and then summarize your key findings. What have you learned? Is the concept adapted to your region? What are the limitations of the paper? If your paper has policy implications, what should local, regional or national authorities do? The conclusion should not contain new data or figures

Bibliography (5 points)

All authors listed in the bibliography should be mentioned in the text. Please use at least 5 scientific or policy references (peer-reviewed articles, books, reports from major organizations). See citation style above.

Citation style and plagiarism

When quoting a book or an article, make sure that the source is cited properly and that your paper is not plagiarized, wholly or in part. Feel free to use any referencing style you want (MLA, APA, Chicago, Harvard, etc.)

General statements must be presented as follows:

Cities tend to attract creative workers (Florida 2002).

Excerpts must be presented in quotation marks to show that a particular portion of your paper is from a different source. Include the name of the author, the date, and page numbers, as follows:

According to Glaeser (2011: 65), “national policy should strive to enrich and empower everybody”.

References must be placed at the end of the paper, not in footnotes, and sorted alphabetically:

Book: Fujita M, Krugman P, Venables A. 2000. The Spatial Economy. Cities, regions and International Trade. Cambridge MA, The MIT Press.
Article: Boschma R, Coenen L, Frenken K, Truffer B. 2017. Towards a theory of regional diversification: combining insights from Evolutionary Economic Geography and Transition Studies. Regional Studies 51(1): 31-45.
Book chapter: Thrift N. 2008. Space: the fundamental stuff of human geography, in Clifford N, Holloway S, Rice SP, Valentine G. (eds). Key Concepts in Geography. Thousand Oaks, Sage: 85-96.
Electronic documents: Walther O, Kuépié M, Tenikue M. 2017. When social networks become a burden for African traders. Washington DC, The Brookings Institution, Africa in Focus Series, Jan 3,
(Links to an external site.)
. Web links are subject to changes: please provide the full reference, not just a link!

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