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Articles in Economic Geography

Slides on “The Good News from Africa”

By Martin W. Lewis | May 20, 2016 |

Dear Readers,
My lecture this week for my class on the history and geography of current global events focused on the “good news” from Sub-Saharan Africa, particularly the southern half of the continent. The slides are available at the link here:  Good News From Africa

Customizable Maps of Brazil and Colombia, and Brazilian Social Development

By Martin W. Lewis | March 9, 2016 | One Comment

But regardless of what one thinks of either Lula or of Brazil’s current situation, the progress that it made in the last decade of the 20th century and the first decade of the 21st is difficult to deny.

Customizable Maps of Switzerland and Poland, and Swiss Per Capita GDP by Canton

By Martin W. Lewis | March 4, 2016 | One Comment

The high levels of economic production found in Geneva, the city of Basel, and Zurich were not unexpected—but that of Zug was. But as it turns out, the answer here is simple.

Customizable Base Maps of Italy

By Martin W. Lewis | February 24, 2016 |

As can be seen, the poorest regions of Italy are all plagued by high extortion rates.

Italy Autonomous Regions MapFinally, I have included as well a simple map showing Italy’s autonomous regions. The issue of regional autonomy in Italy, however, is rather complicated. As noted in the Wikipedia, “all the regions except

Tatarstan: A “Hostage of Freezing Relations between Russia and Turkey”?

By Asya Pereltsvaig | February 4, 2016 | 4 Comments

[Many thanks to Ekaterina Lyutikova for most helpful discussions of some of the issues discussed in this post, as well as for the photos, some of which are used as illustrations below. I’m also grateful to Martin W. Lewis for helpful discussions and edits and for modifying the Wikipedia map of Percentage of Ethnic Tatars, used below.]

Tatarstan has not been …

The Geography of Poverty and Social Development in the Philippines

By Martin W. Lewis | February 1, 2016 | 5 Comments

As the map indicates, poverty is pronounced in several widely scattered parts of the Philippines. Overall, the poorest part of the Philippines is the Muslim-majority area in the southwest, which I have therefore outlined in red

Mapping the Extraordinary Cost of Homes in California

By Martin W. Lewis | January 6, 2016 | 7 Comments

Housing prices in parts of California have reached a level so astronomical as to provoke widespread despair (coupled, however, with a certain degree of concealed glee among of the beneficiaries). The geography of housing costs can be easily grasped by juxtaposing a map of median home prices in USA Home Price MapCalifornia with a similar map showing all of the United States

Customizable Maps of Russia for Downloading

By Martin W. Lewis | December 22, 2015 |

The basic GeoCurrents customizable map of Russia has been divided into its 85 constituent units, which are officially knows as Russia’s federal subjects.

The Changing Geography of Poverty in The United States

By Martin W. Lewis | September 11, 2015 |

In 2007, James B. Holt published an interesting article on “The Topography of Poverty in the United States” based on cartographic analysis (I have reproduced two of his maps here). His concluding map posits a “continental poverty divide,” with most areas of entrenched poverty found in the southeast and south-center and most areas of low poverty found in the northeast …

Argentina’s Controversial Energy Policies

By Martin W. Lewis | September 6, 2015 | One Comment

As noted in the previous post, the most economically productive areas of Argentina depend heavily on the extraction of oil and natural gas. Argentina, however, is not a major fossil-fuel producer, and its reserves of conventional oil and natural gas are modest. Although it still exports some crude oil and until recently sold large quantities of natural gas to Chile, …

Argentina’s Striking North/South Economic Divide

By Martin W. Lewis | September 4, 2015 | 9 Comments

As previously noted, Argentina is characterized by a north/south socio-economic divide, with the south being much more prosperous than the north. This regional disparity is visible on the HDI map included in the most recent post, but it is more clearly marked on other maps of economic development.
Consider, for example, GDP per capita by Argentine province (2008 data). As more …

Argentina’s HDI: The Wikipedia’s Worst Map?

By Martin W. Lewis | September 1, 2015 |

Although the Wikipedia includes a multitude of fine maps, its cartographic archive is by no means uniformly excellent. Perhaps the worst Wikipedia map that I have encountered, posted to the left, depicts Argentinian provinces in accordance with their HDI (Human Development Index*) rankings. As can be seen, all provinces are placed in the same category, that of “very high HDI,” …

The Quixotic Campaign to Split New York State

By Martin W. Lewis | August 31, 2015 | 6 Comments

A new drive to divide the state of New York, separating the “Upstate” region from metropolitan New York City, is gaining visibility both within the state and nationally. On Sunday, August 30 a secession rally organized by more than a dozen groups was held in the town of Bainbridge (population 3,300) in New York’s Southern Tier, the movement’s core area. …

Oil, Coal, and Economic Development in Colombia

By Martin W. Lewis | August 26, 2015 | 3 Comments

Although Colombia is not usually classified as a major oil-producer, it ranks 19th in the world according to the Wikipedia, turning out more than a million barrels a day in late 2014. Although this figure was well below that of Venezuela (2.5 million barrels a day), it surpassed those of such well-known oil exporters as Oman and Azerbaijan. It is …

Chile: Inequality, Education, and Geography

By Martin W. Lewis | July 22, 2015 | 5 Comments

As noted in the previous post, Chile has a strikingly high level of income inequality despite its considerable success in social and economic development. Many observers blame Chile’s educational system for such inequity, contending that the country has many poor schools and does not spend enough money on education. As argued in a recent Council on Hemispheric Affairs article, “National …

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