Agglomeration economies and rail investment: Prospects for Asian development

Crawford School of Public Policy | Arndt-Corden Department of Economics

Event details

ACDE Seminar

Date & time

Tuesday 19 November 2013


Coombs Seminar Room B, Coombs Building 9, Fellows Road, ANU


Associate Professor Cameron Gordon, University of Canberra.


Arianto Patunru

The term ‘agglomeration economies’ describes the economic benefits firms and communities obtain by locating near one another. These economies can have various sources such as density that allows for economies of scale in production, labour market search efficiencies for employers and so forth.

It is well known that transport infrastructure can enable such economies and rail investment in particular is seen as having greater potential for creating beneficial agglomerations than roads, mainly because of higher average travel speeds and passenger capacity advantages. Whether such agglomerations actually occur depends on the design of the rail project and the nature and stage of economic development into which the project is put. Many Asian governments, especially China, have invested heavily in rail or are considering doing so. This presentation will describe the state of play in rail investment in Asia today; the potential and actual economic effects of these investments; and the policy lessons for both Asia and the wider world.

Associate Professor Cameron Gordon is an Associate Professor at the University of Canberra. He holds ongoing joint appointments as a Principal Investigator with the University Transportation Research Center Region 2 and the City University of New York(CUNY) Social Policy Simulation Center, both based in the United Stated. In 2009 he held an endowed faculty research position as the John J Marchi Scholar in Public Policy at the City University of New York and in 2010 he was a visiting Professor at the Institute for Transport and Logistics Studies (ITLS) at the University of Sydney. In 2011 he conducted research at the Centre for Transport Studies (CTS) at the Imperial College in London. He has held prior teaching and research appointments with CUNY and the University of Southern California.

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