John Page on the drivers of industrial location

MOOC lecture with LSE in London

John Page on the drivers of industrial location

On 30 October, John Page gives a presentation on the drivers of industrial location at the London School of Economics.

This event is part of a series of lectures delivered by Brookings Institution Senior Fellow and UNU-WIDER Non-Resident Senior Research Fellow, John Page, on industrialization in Africa. The series is based on a decade of work by UNU-WIDER inspired by three questions: why is there so little industry in Africa? Does it matter? What can be done about it?

The lectures are filmed and will form part of an internationally produced MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) to be released be UNU-WIDER alongside a documentary in 2019. The landmark series includes lectures at the UONGOZI Institute in Dar Es Salaam, the African Economic Research Consortium in Nairobi, the Department for International Development in London, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization in New York, and UNU-WIDER in Helsinki.

The MOOC is part of the UNU-WIDER project, in partnership with the Brookings Institute on Jobs, poverty and structural change in Africa.

Lecture: The drivers of industrial location – exports, capabilities, and clusters


Recent developments in international trade and the microeconomics of the firm may shed light on what enables some economies to achieve rapid industrial growth. This lecture addresses two trade-related issues – learning by exporting, and trade in tasks – that are of particular relevance for industrialization. It also surveys a new approach to understanding firm-level productivity. Traditionally economists have paid little attention to the inner workings of the firm. New research on ‘firm capabilities’ has focused greater attention on the role of management in determining firm-level productivity. It turns out that trade and capabilities are closely related.

The new economic geography focuses on how the interplay between transportation costs and increasing returns to scale help determine the spatial structure of an economy. This has improved our understanding of where firms choose to locate and under what circumstances they cluster together. Agglomerations raise the productivity of firms but in different ways and among different combinations of firms, depending on the level of a country’s development. This lecture surveys the recent literature on agglomerations and industrial clusters.