The publication of Walter Isard’s spatially extended input-output model (Isard ) must surely be regarded as a (if not the) cornerstone of operational regional science. At issue was the custom, perhaps especially noticeable in economics, of assuming that much of a nation’s human activity took place in a spaceless vacuum. Yet activities occur at specific locations, and since not all activities exist at all locations, there must be interactions among places. Thus, it was argued, an explicitly regional approach was called for; but such a perspective carries with it an obligation to pay attention to the structure of activity within each place (region) and also to the nature of connections that tie the regions together. It is precisely these two aspects of the regional view that are captured in Isard’s pioneering interregional input-output (IRIO) model, in which intraregional structures appear in on-diagonal blocks and interregional connections are captured in off-diagonal blocks of a spatially explicit technical coefficients matrix.
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