The term goes back to the geographer Theodor Kraus , who in 1933 defined as an economic area an "earth space or landscape section organized and designed by human activities, which is characterized and delimited by certain socio-economic structural features and functional interrelationships". For Kraus, the economic area had to consist of a closed economic cycle of demand , generation and consumption . There also had to be “similarity and equality of economic ties and relationships”.
The states located in an economic area retain their identity and sovereignty. They decide on the basis of international treaties to work together in the field of economy in order to link their economies more closely with one another. If this also happens politically, there is a confederation of states . The economic area is also not a state under international law and has neither its own national territory nor its own citizens . The national goal of all member states of an economic area is above all to improve the terms of trade above the level available in each member state, which can also be achieved through a coordinated stabilization of exchange rates .
Starting with Kraus, the economic structures of the economic area are regionally harmonized through economic integration with the help of common socio-economic structural features and functional interrelations:
- Structurally , the inner structure of the space-defining elements of an economic area is adapted in terms of its location and property dimensions.
- Functionally , the type, intensity and dynamics of the interdependencies and system relationships that shape the spatial structure are harmonized.
The economic area differs through its individual economic structure from the economic areas surrounding it. Outsourcing according to regional or national borders only makes sense from a macro-geographic perspective.
The present-day United States of America began as an economic area in March 1781 through the Articles of Confederation , passed in November 1777 , while retaining their state sovereignty. The goal was not only an economic but also a political union. From 1823 the Central American Confederation followed .
One of the first macro-political economic areas was the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) , founded in April 1951 . This was followed in January 1958 by the European Economic Community (EEC), the legal predecessor of today's European Union , which was created in February 1992 by the Maastricht Treaty . Its most important subsector is the European Economic and Monetary Union , which since January 2002 has denominated the common currency of the euro within the euro zone . This resulted in the European Economic Area as a free trade area between the European Union and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).
The Asia-Pacific Economic Community (APEC) was established in November 1989 and is to be regarded as an economic area. Mercosur , founded in March 1991, is an internal market and therefore functions as an economic area, even if it has not yet been possible to harmonize the soft currencies of the member states. By contrast , the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which came about in January 1994 , did not create an economic area, because it is only a multilateral free trade agreement that regulates foreign trade - and thus only a part of economic policy.
In September 2009, the ASEAN member states decided to establish a single market based on the EU model.
The economic area is the central object of knowledge in economic geography. More recently, the comprehensive economic area analysis has taken a back seat to dealing with selected special topics. Thus, the interest of regional production clusters (increasingly focused on the study of the formation and development of industrial region , Cluster () and their development in a specific socio-cultural context as the involvement of stakeholders in their environment English embeddedness , relational economic geography ). Spatial aspects of globalization and the new international division of labor are also increasingly being dealt with. Particular attention is paid to the structure of relationships between global and local processes and systems ( glocalization ).
In contrast to the economic area , the economic area does not delimit the economic area on the basis of political-administrative administrative units. An agglomeration is understood as the concentration of several neighboring communities within a state such as the Ruhr area . The totality of all connected and mutually dependent sectors in an economic area is called the national economy .
- EMEA (economic area)
- Munich metropolitan region
- Regional conference Bern-Mittelland
- Dnepr Economic Region
- Paul Krugman / Maurice Obstfeld / Marc Melitz: International Economy. Theory and Politics of Foreign Trade. 9th edition. Pearson Studium, Munich 2011, ISBN 3-86894-134-7 .
- Theodor Kraus, The economic area. Thoughts on his geographic exploration , 1933, p. 9
- Hans-Dieter Haas / Simon-Martin Neumair, Wirtschaftsgeographie , 2007, p. 11
- Theodor Kraus, The economic area. Thoughts on his geographic research , 1933, p. 9 f.
- Hans Schrepfer , On economic areas and their importance for economic geography , in: Geographische Wochenschrift (3rd year), 1935, p. 500
- Springer Fachmedien (ed.), Gabler Volkswirtschafts-Lexikon , Volume 1, 1994, p. 332
- RP online from March 1, 2009, community based on EU model planned
- Horst-Günter Wagner , Wirtschaftsgeographie , 1981, p. 19
- Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden (Ed.), 222 Keywords Economic Geography , 2019, p. 146 f.