DP17950 From the Manufacturing Belt to the Rust Belt. Spatial Inequalities in the United States: An Interdisciplinary Literature Review
This paper reviews research on spatial inequalities in the United States focusing on the Manufacturing Belt and Rust Belt. It offers a taxonomy of scholarship in this area and assesses its contribution to our understanding of the evolution of U.S. spatial inequalities since the middle of the nineteenth century. This scholarship has shown that the initial location of the Manufacturing Belt was influenced by natural resources, location of initial European settlements and early development of canals. The dominant position of the belt was the result of its large market potential which allowed firms to take advantage of agglomeration economies, supply-chain linkages and low-cost access to the consumers. Its decline and subsequent emergence of the Rust Belt was the result of rising labor costs and diminished location advantage.