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Region: Economics and Sociology

2022 year, number 1

EFFICIENCY AND EQUALITY: TWENTY YEARS OF DISCUSSION ON SPATIAL DEVELOPMENT

L.V. Melnikova1,2
1Institute of Economics and Industrial Engineering, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Novosibirsk, Russia
2Novosibirsk National Research State University, Novosibirsk, Russia
Keywords: Distance, space, mobility, city, regional policy, regional inequality, economic efficiency, discussion

Abstract

In this review, we aim to analyze the development and mutual influence of the ideas of efficiency and equality in spatial development, the reflection of these ideas in competing concepts of regional policy from the 1990s to the present day, drawing on the three literature strata. The first stream of publications captures the debate about the role of space in an era of globalization and revolutionary changes in how information transmits. The polar hypotheses - from the death of space" to the tyranny of space" - have stimulated empirical assessments of the impact that distance has on the level of economic interactions, which have not confirmed the thesis of a flat world" where economic activity is distributed evenly. At the same time, dissatisfaction with the results of traditional redistributive regional policies matured in the expert community, giving rise to the second stratum of literature: a debate between the proponents of space-neutral" and place-based" policies. The former focuses on urban agglomerations as sources of growth, while the latter seeks to unlock the underutilized potential of each place. The discussion clarified the possible implications of these approaches for national economic efficiency and the reduction of regional inequalities. Recognizing the value of each place has brought forth a new requirement for the place-based policy to be place-sensitive. A similar discussion about the directions that the spatial development of Russias economy takes, and the principles of regional policy developed simultaneously in the Russian-speaking segment. The territorial concentration of growth in cities and the ways to reduce interregional inequality became major talking points. The peculiarity of such a debate was that it took place around the changing versions of spatial development strategies, often based on opposing principles.