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Deforestation, Growth and Agglomeration Effects: Evidence from Agriculture in the Brazilian Amazon

Danilo Igliori

[fevereiro de 2009]

Abstract: The role of population growth and migration has been emphasized as a key variable to explain deforestation and land conversion in developing countries. The spatial distribution of human population and economic activities is remarkably uneven. At any geographical scale we find that different forms of agglomerations are pervasive. On the one hand, in central countries or regions, agglomeration is reflected in ‘large varieties of cities. On the other, less developed regions faces a dynamic process where new agglomerations form and develop as a result of frontier expansion. The recent literature on spatial economics has emphasized the role of agglomeration and clustering of economic activities as fundamental causes of an enhanced level of local economic performance, creating externalities that cause firms to grow faster and larger than they otherwise would do. However, very little has been done to examine the presence of agglomeration economies on economic performance of agricultural activities. In this paper we empirically examine whether an initial level of agglomeration impacts the subsequent economic growth and deforestation rates in the Brazilian Amazon. The regression estimates indicate that there is a significant non-linear association between the initial intensity of agglomeration with both growth and land conversion in subsequent periods.

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