* Geography 450 - Past Examination Questions *


2002 2001 2000 1999

Midterm (Geography 450, Fall 1996)

Total Points: 60 (40 in-class, 20 take-home)

This test has three parts. Part I and II take place today in class. Please hand in your Part I before you open your Notebook for your Part II answers. (Let me know if you need access to any of your electronic notes).

Part I: (2x10 points, Closed-Books)

A. Briefly identify the conceptual meaning (as used in location-theoretical discourse) of the following terms (select 5, 2 points each)

economies of scope			external economies
localization economies			law of diminishing returns
principle of substitution		"Anglo-Saxon bias"
deductive approach			partial equilibrium
isoquant				hypothesis

B. Select two questions for brief answers (5 points each):

a) What are the benefits and disadvantages of using "linear transport cost functions" in locational theorizing? b) What is the difference between an activity which contributes to intensive land use and a land-intensive type of activity? c) Explain the difference between the concept of "mobility" and "footlooseness".

Part II: (20 pts, Select one, i.e. either A or B; Open Notebook; Hand in Part I before beginning)

A. Relate transport costs (as the cost of overcoming the frictions of space) to interest costs (as the costs of overcoming the frictions of time). Not only may interest costs be part of transportation costs, but it might still get more complex: Since one large capital-intensive project (with scale-economies) may require higher transport (access) costs (to be supplied with inputs and/or to ship finished products to customers) than several small and dispersed ones, changes in the interest rate may affect locational behaviors and spatial structures in a variety of different ways. Explain. Do not hesitate to use examples; just be sure that you unambiguously state your case first before you give an example.

B. "Time is an important variable in the location-theoretical discourse. Hägerstrand's contribution, however intriguing it might be, represents only a small part of this importance." Discuss.

Part III has a project-oriented focus and requires access to the Collaboration and Contribution Page. [/~krumme/450/collab96.html]. You can also reach this page by clicking on the green arrow in the very last line of the 450 class page [/~krumme/450/firstpage.html]. Hand in your Part III statements on paper or send them in by E-mail. In either case, save them on your disk since they may turn out to be useful for a future weekly "contribution". (Due: next Wednesday)

A. Select from among the "blue list" contributions of your fellow travelers in this class the two which you feel have advanced furthest at this point in time (based on the criteria included in the project description and delineated in class). (Do not select your own contribution).

1. Review and justify or defend your selections

2. Would you have any suggestions for either of our two classmates (which I would be glad to transmit to them without revealing your name). Do not hesitate to engage in some limited literature (re)search to back up your suggestion(s).

3. What, in general, have you learned from your peers which you might apply to your own research?

B. Examine the role of the "substitution principle" in the context of your own project-related research. (Blue and/or red list topic)

The substitution principle is defined in Goddall (p. 458) but only for a production-theoretical context. It is also explained in the class-handout by A.Marshall. You also find extensive reference to "substitution" in Emery's Intermediate Micro-Economics (see Index p.269).

Midterm (Geography 450, Fall 1995)

Total Points: 60

Total Time: until 1:00. Relax! While the test is designed for 1 hour, I would strongly suggest that you use all time available and that you use any free time on further improvements of the organization and conceptualization of your answers. Should you decide to consult sources outside the classroom, be sure you are back by 12:15 for your write-up using your own notes (what you have collected in your notebook and the notes you have taken during your 'resource hour') only.

Part I: A three-step question with choice (30 points).
Please read the whole question before beginning to respond to it.
1. The concepts of "footlooseness" and "locational flexibility" are useful yet rather general references to some behavioral freedoms of action of interest to location theorists and analysts. What is (or could be) the conceptual content of these expressions? Delineate their meanings and then select one of them to answer parts 2 and 3 of this question:

2. Economic activities which are considered "footloose" (or, alternatively, "flexible"), are not really and never absolutely footloose (or flexible). Thus, footlooseness (or flexibility) is always "relative" and needs to be "qualified" to be useful for characterization and differentiation of activities. How would you go about developing a conceptualization (which would be useful for location studies and regional economic policy analysis) for the constraints acting upon "footlooseness" (or "locational flexibility").

3. Application: Having developed some understanding of the concept by way of "relativizing" its meaning, it is now time to think about some application of your differentiations. Why is this conceptual articulation (you just went through) important for corporate or public planners or regional economic policy experts in Olympia (or elsewhere) to characterize and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the state's (a region's) economic structure and of those industries/ activities which will be targeted as "desirable" for a future expansion of a region's economic base or a corporation's activities.

Part II: Your Project (30 points)

Apply the conceptualization of the "research process" as you understand it or which you have learned about by reading Robert Durrenberger (handout); Barbara Kennedy (handout) or some other source, to the development of your (combined) project. Which stages of this research process are we, in Geography 450, particularly interested in? How would you describe and defend the work you have already started or accomplished and the work which you are expecting to accomplish during the remainder of this quarter? Which parts or stages will you definitely not be able to accomplish during this quarter? Why is whatever you are planning to accomplish important for yourself, your understanding of spatial economic structures, the field of geography, your own future professional or academic discipline and/or society in general?

Bonus: Name three academic journals (for example, the kind of journals to which you would be referred by the "Expanded Academic Index" in UWIN) in which you would expect to find academic research papers dealing with your particular locational project interests. If you have not consulted them yet, will you promise to do it?

Who are
(a) Robert Lucas?
(b) Harold Hotelling?
(c) Torsten Hagerstrand?
If you have any second thoughts about your responses, don't just "kick yourself", but submit your clarifications by Monday! (I mean it!)

Geography 450 - Fall 1995


General Instructions: (a) Please select questions so as to be able to avoid redundancies between your answers incl. the answer related to your specialization. (b) However 'alien' a question may sound, all questions relate to class objectives, class- materials and/or class-related readings; thus, please do not hesitate to make use of such materials and, as much as possible, to follow a rigorous, concise, and conceptual mode of presentation.

Part I (25 Points)

(Options A and B) Explain in detail, compare and identify the theoretical role (individually and in comparison) of three of the following concepts: (i.e. select three from within the option you select)

Spatial Demand Curve; 		Spatial Margin of Cultivation (Thunen)
Spatial Iso-Outlay Line (Moses)	Spatial Margin/ Range of Tolerance (Weber/Smith)
Bid Price Curve (Alonso)	Critical Isodapane (Weber)
Isodapane (Weber)		Range of a Good (Christaller)

OPTION C: Can one categorically state that a farmer could competitively grow his/her specific favorite crop at any distance from the market just by adjusting the intensity of (input) use of his land? Why or why not? Or would it depend? (It may not be advisable to select this question unless you have a good understanding of the law of diminishing returns [as well as of the Thünen Model])

Part II (25 Points)

"Footlooseness" and "flexibility" are concepts which location theorists are groping for and resting on after they have given up dealing with problems of uncertainty, complexity and indeterminacy. Do you agree? Discuss critically (in general and specific terms)!

Part III (25 points)

Review the Paper by Williamson in light of your area of interests as presented in your project papers. (If you strongly feel that the transaction cost approach does not apply to your area of interest, you need to explain why and then (i.e. thereafter) suggest other theoretical approaches which would get us/you closer to the organizational facets (independent variables) associated with the spatial distribution of your activities.

Part IV (25 Points)

On the basis of your (hopefully excellent) understanding of the objectives and present content of Geography 450 (and accepting the overall constraints of this course [400-level, quarter system, Geography class, interests and background of other students in the class]), try to make constructive, content oriented suggestions as to how you feel the course content could be adjusted or made more relevant for students with similar backgrounds and (personal and/or professional) interests as you had during this quarter.

Should you feel that the content was 'just dandy', make sure that you present sufficient arguments and evidence (for me to believe your claim that it fit your needs and/or those of the "generic geography senior' and will be useful in some future context). [This is NOT an evaluation of the class as a whole, nor of the presentation of the content, BUT an assessment of the content itself as presented in the readings, syllabus materials, other messages and class.]

Bonus: Identify ( by an 'idea', concept or theory, not just by the title of a publication) the explicit or derived contribution of five (5) of these VIPs or pairs of VIPs to the development of location theory (2 point each, 10 points max): I. Savage; Charles Kepner & Benjamin Tregoe; Tord Palander; Peter Townroe; Alan Scott; Michael Piore & Charles Sabel; Richard Walker; Julian Wolpert; Ronald Coase.


Geography 450

Fall 1994

I. Select two of the following topics for concise statements:

1) Why do we need THEORY for the analysis of locational patterns?

2) Describe and explain how we can simplify complex transport cost phenomena into more or less simplified theoretical transport cost functions.

3) Relate transport costs (as the cost of overcoming the frictions of space) to interest costs (as the costs of overcoming the frictions of time). Not only may interest costs be part of transportation costs (and transport costs part of interest costs [how might that work?]) but it might still get more complex: Since one large capital-intensive project (with scale-economies) may require higher transport (access) costs than several small and dispersed ones, changes in the interest rate may tend to change spatial structures in a variety of different ways. Explain.

4) You are the manager of daily operations and logistics in one of Metro's 'Bus Barns' and are responsible for the efficient use of buses during the day. Before writing the operations manual for your assistant managers and supervisors, you want to conceptualize the general space/time allocation problem. Having heard of Hagerstrand's scheme, how would you make the necessary conceptual adjustments to fit this altered context?

5) While geographers have tended to stress the process of physical transportation or movement as the (almost) only form of spatial interaction, and transport costs as the (almost) only form of spatial friction, more recently other types of interaction costs have been recognized to have spatial-differentiation potential. Write an essay in which you argue for the expansion of the transport cost model to a spatial transaction cost model.

6) Explain the "Hotelling Equilibrium". Identify some of the important assumptions associated with this model. Among- these assumptions, there are those which are crucial for the equilibrium and those which are important, but less crucial. Explain.

7) We have not yet discussed in detail the locational concept of "flexibility"; however, given your conceptual skills, the objectives of is class and as much as we have used this "weasel word" in class, write an essay on "Flexibility and Location".

II. Briefly identify the conceptual meaning of TEN of the following terms: (select ten, 2 points each)