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Über dieses Buch

Two areas have fascinated me for a long time. One is the micro economic theory of consumer behavior, the other one the role of space in economic processes. Usually, the two don't go together very well. In more advanced versions of microeconomic consumer theory its economic actor may face uncertainty, have to allocate resources over time, or have to take into ac­ count the characteristics of products, but rarely deals with space. He/she inhabits a spaceless point economy. Regional Science, on the other hand, describes and analyzes the spatial structure and development of the econ­ omy, but either ignores individual decision making altogether or treats it in a rather simplistic way. In this book I try to bring together these two areas of interest of mine. I do this by use of the microeconomic concept of search and placing it in an explicit spatial context. The result, in my opinion, is a theoretical concept with fascinating implications, a broad set of potential implications, and numerous interesting research questions. After reading this book, where I layout the basic idea of spatial search, describe its elements, and discuss some of its implications, I hope the reader will share this opinion. There are still plenty of unanswered research questions in this part of economic theory. Hopefully, this book will stimulate more work along these lines.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Introduction

Abstract
When we shop for consumer durables like furniture, some electronic equipment, a car etc. we usually have to make a number of interdependent decisions. We decide about which store to check, what characteristics we want the product to have, what price we are willing to accept. If we cannot find the product we want at an acceptable price at the first store, we will have to think about another store, and maybe have to revise our aspirations about characteristics and price. When we fail at the second store as well, we will have to decide about a third, fourth, fifth store, and so on.
Gunther Maier

Chapter 2. Economic Search Theory

Abstract
In chapter 1 we have already talked loosely about search processes and the economic search problem. In this chapter we want to be more specific in laying out the basic structure of economic search theory. Because of the enormous amount of literature available in this area, we can provide only a cursory overview. In particular we will concentrate upon aspects that are important for our latter discussion of spatial search.
Gunther Maier

Chapter 3. Prerequisites: Graphs, Routes, and Computational Complexity

Abstract
Since the spatial search problem explicitly deals with alternatives distributed in two-dimensional space, we need a way to characterize the spatial layout of the problem. This links our problem to graph theory and the related theories of optimal routing and computational complexity. In this chapter we do not intend to provide a comprehensive introduction to any of these theories (for such an introduction see e.g. Gibbons, 1985; Parker and Rardin, 1988; Bondy and Murty, 1976). We will discuss only those aspects of these theories that are essential for our discussion of the spatial search problem.
Gunther Maier

Chapter 4. The General Spatial Search Problem

Abstract
In this chapter we want to focus on search problems in space. Explicitly taking into account space in the search problem leads to some major modifications of the basic models as they were discussed in section 2. In particular, some of the assumptions that simplified the problem considerably in section 2 are not applicable or at least extremely questionable in a spatial search context.
Gunther Maier

Chapter 5. Tractable Spatial Search Problems

Abstract
In chapter 4 we have demonstrated that the spatial search problem as we have defined it there is highly complex. It belongs to a class of problems for which it seems a general solution does not exist. Although minimum expected cost and choice probabilities can be computed quite easily for a spatial search problem with few alternatives, when the number of alternatives increases, the resource requirements for solving the spatial search problem grow beyond bounds.
Gunther Maier

Chapter 6. The Implication of Spatial Search for Market Areas and Firm Location

Abstract
Up to now we have concentrated on conceptualizing spatial search and dealing with its computational complexity. The rest of our presentation will be devoted to the implications spatial search may have for various spatial phenomena. We will implement the idea of spatial search as it was developed in the previous sections into a number of well known regional economic theories. It is our intention to find out, what the impacts of spatial search are for the basic theoretical results of those well known and well established theories.
Gunther Maier

Chapter 7. Spatial Search and Agglomeration

Abstract
“Agglomeration” and “agglomeration factors” are important and well established concepts in Regional Science1 (see Mulligan, 1984; Norton, 1992). The latter describes “the economic advantages which accrue to a firm by locating in an area which contains a number of related industries, and/or in a large city or metropolitan area” (Stafford, 1979, p. 91). The term “agglomeration” refers either to the process that results from agglomeration factors or to the resulting spatial pattern of economic activities2.
Gunther Maier

Chapter 8. Spatial Search and Spatial Interaction Models

Abstract
Until now our discussion of spatial search has focused mainly on the behavioral side. We have discussed the searcher’s optimal strategy in terms of route choice and stopping behavior, investigated the relationship between the two, and drawn conclusions about complexity, market areas, and expected costs.
Gunther Maier

Chapter 9. Conclusions and Future Research

Abstract
Now that we have reached the end of our discussion of spatial search, we want to take an inventory of what we have achieved. Because we have dealt with a rather new topic in Regional Science, we have probably raised more questions than we were able to answer. We will summarize those that seem to be particularly promising for more research in the future.
Gunther Maier

Backmatter

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