Patricio Aroca, Miguel Atienza

Spatial concentration in Latin America and the role of institutions

Spatial concentration in Latin America, especially in the southern cone, reaches high levels in all dimensions. Despite significant economic growth in the last two decades, trade openness, the return to democratic regimes and reductions in the Gini coefficients the primacy indexes of most Latin American countries remain relatively constant and among the highest in the world. This situation challenges most regional and urban economics theories that predict a reduction in spatial concentration as development proceeds, after an initial period of concentration. Furthermore, Latin American countries could be trapped in processes of agglomeration without growth. The objective of this article is twofold: first, we describe some characteristics of spatial concentration and its persistence in Latin America with special emphasis in the case of Chile; and second, we propose future research lines related to the need of rebalancing Latin American spatial economies focusing on the importance of institutions as an explanation of the persistence of spatial concentration. 

Keywords: Spatial concentration; Latin America; spatially blind policies; institutions

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