Economic Geography Glossary



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Game theory

A reference to a set of optimal strategies for decisions which involve uncertainty resulting from conflicting objectives of players (interdependent decision situations). Distinction is made between zero-sum and non-zero-sum games. Best known among the strategies is the minimax/maximin solution strategy in a two-person game which, if a "saddle point" (or equilibrium) is present, results in each player achieving the best of all possible worst outcomes (or "pay-off") (see Goodall, p.184 for more).

Gamma index

A measure of connectivity of a network comparing (through a ratio) the actual number of links with the maximum number of possible links (edges) in this network.
Gamma Index Formula =
actual number of links
the number of nodes(number of nodes - 1)


was developed in reference to "ambiguous behaviors", i.e. explanations/interpretations of behaviors which at least appear to contradict classical theory. The G.C.M. was greatly influenced by the realization that extreme cases of aggregate uncertainty in decision environments would trigger behavioral responses which, at least from a distance, appear "irrational" or at least not in compliance with the total/global rationality of "economic man" (e.g. "act first, think later"). The G.C.M. was originally formulated in the context of the operation of universities and their many inter-departmental communications problems.....

The garbage can model tried to expand organizational decision theory into the then uncharted field of organizational anarchy which is characterized by "problematic preferences", "unclear technology" and "fluid participation". "The theoretical breakthrough of the garbage can model is that it disconnects problems, solutions and decision makers from each other, unlike traditional decision theory. Specific decisions do not follow an orderly process from problem to solution, but are outcomes of several relatively independent stream of events within the organization." (Richard L. Daft, 1982, p.139).

Four of those streams were identified in Cohen, March & Olsen's original conceptualization:

  1. Problems require attention, they are the result of performance gaps or the inability to predict the future. Thus, problems may originate inside or outside the organization Traditionally, it has been assumed that problems trigger decision processes; if they are sufficiently grave, this may happen. Usually, however, organization man goes through the "garbage" and looks for a suitable fix.... called a "solution".
  2. Solutions ... have a life on their own. They are distinct from problems which they might be called on to solve. Solutions are answers (more or less actively) looking for a question. Participants may have ideas for solutions; they may be attracted to specific solutions and volunteer to play the advocate. Only trivial solutions do not require advocacy and preparations. Significant solutions have to be prepared without knowledge of the problems they might have to solve.
  3. Choice opportunities ...are occasions when organizations are expected (or think they are expected) to produce behavior that can be called a decision (or an "initiative"). Just like politicians cherish "photo opportunities", organization man needs occasional "decision opportunities" for reasons unrelated to the decision itself.
  4. Participants ...come and go; participation varies between problems and solutions. Participation may vary depending on the other time demands of participants (independent from the particular "decision" situation under study). Participants may have favorite problems or favorite solutions which they carry around with them...

Why "garbage cans"? It was suggested that organizations tend to produce many "solutions" which are discarded due to a lack of appropriate problems. However problems may eventually arise for which a search of the garbage might yield fitting solutions.
Probably the most extreme view (namely that of organizational anarchy) of the Carnegie School. Organizations operate on the basis of inconsistent and ill-defined preferences; their own processes are not understood by their members; they operate by trial and error; their boundaries are uncertain and changing; decision-makers for any particular choice change capriciously. To understand organizational processes, one can view choice opportunities as garbage cans into which various kinds of problems and solutions are dumped. The mix of garbage depends on the mix of labeled cans available, on what garbage is currently produced and the speed with which garbage and garbage cans are removed.


  • Cohen, Michael D., James G. March, Johan P. Olsen A Garbage Can Model of Organizational Choice Administrative Science Quarterly, Vol. 17, No. 1. (Mar., 1972), pp. 1-25.[JSTORS] [particularly pp.1-3 & 9-13]

    Das TK, Teng BS, Cognitive biases and strategic decision processes: An integrative perspective, JOURNAL OF MANAGEMENT STUDIES. 36(6) 757-778 NOV 1999

    Kilduff M, Angelmar R, Mehra A, Top management-team diversity and firm performance: Examining the role of cognitions, ORGANIZATION SCIENCE, 11: (1) 21-34 JAN-FEB 2000

    Krumme, G. [see Disconnection Argument]

    Ryan K. Lahti Group Decision Making within the Organization: Can Models Help?

    March, James G. and Johan P. Olsen. Ambiguity and Choice in Organizations. 2nd edition, Bergen: Universitetsforlaget, 1979. [LB2806.M353.1979]

    Schmid, H., Dodd, P. & Tropman, J. E. (1987). Board decision making in human service organizations. Human Systems Management, 7(2) 155-161 [Garbage Can Theory]

  • GATT

    General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (1947). One of the three follow-ups of Bretton Woods (the others: IMF and World Bank), designed to reduce trade barriers and be the forerunner of WTO.


    the widespread emergence of middle-and upper middle-class enclaves in formerly deteriorated- inner-city neighborhoods. [ Source: A Study of Gentrification] [An extended definition and history of the concept.]


    Data base or index to the international literature of geography, ecology, earth science and marine science.

    Geographic concentration


    The social science discipline which studies the different ways in which individuals, organizations and societies organize themselves in space


    the regional node/ intersection where a number of high-speed information transmission networks "meet" i.e. are connected. "Because the GigaPop is a common place where a number of networks attach, any computer that is attached to the UW's GigaPop will have access to all of these networks." GigaPop (Giga for gigabit -- 1,000 megabits -- per second, and Pop for "point of presence")
    Lit: Humphries, Courtney, "Seattle's GigaPop Brings the Next Generation of the Internet to the Northwest," Northwest Science and Technologies Vol.1 No.1, Spring 1999, pp.18-20.


    Gini Coefficient (or Index of Concentration)

    It is a measure of the income (or some other distributional) inequality in a society. It measures the degree to which two frequency (percentage) distributions correspond. The Gini coefficient is a number between 0 and 100 (or 0 and 1), where 0 means perfect equality (exact correspondence, e.g. everyone has the same income) and 100 (or 1) means perfect inequality (one person has all the income, everyone else earns nothing).

    The Gini coefficient can be illustrated by and derived from the Lorenz curve (developed by Max O. Lorenz): the Gini coefficient is the ratio of two areas, namely the area between the line of perfect equality and the Lorenz curve and the total area (the right-angled triangle) of the graph below or above the line of equality.
    The Gini coefficient was first suggested by the Italian statistician Corrado Gini.
    See also the applications of the Gini-coefficient to
    Industrial Localization and Regional Specialization


    reference to the world-wide presence of a phenomenon or a world-wide spatial pattern of locations of an organization and/or a pattern of interdependencies.


    Globalizacion: Revista Web Mensual de Economma, Sociedad y Cultura - ISSN 1605-5519 - Globalizacion: otros sitios de interes [Resources]


    Growth Management Act -- In 1990, Washington's Legislature adopted the Growth Management Act (GMA), a landmark statute that provides both the tools and the direction for local governments to manage growth. [ A legacy of growth Seattle Times, April 18, 1999 by Mary Lynne Evans, Shane Hope, Mary McCumber, Harold Robertson and Joe Tovar]

    Gravity model

    A mathematical model based on an analogy with Newton's gravitational law which has been used to account for aggregate human behaviors related to spatial interaction, mainly migration, traffic flows and shopping activities. [Newton's law states that the attractive force between two bodies is directly related to their size and inversely related to the distance between them]

    Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

    Value of all the goods and services produced by workers and capital located with a country (or region), such as the United States, regardless of nationality of workers or ownership. Domestic measures relate to the physical location of the factors of production; they refer to production attributable to all labor and property located in a country. The national measures differ from the domestic measures by the net inflow -- that is, inflow less outflow -- of labor and property incomes from abroad. Essentially, Gross Domestic Product includes production within national borders regardless of whether the labor and property inputs are domestically or foreign owned. Click here for more!
    Quarterly GDP (BEA)
    BEA News Release - GDP Third Quarter 2000

    Gross National Product (GNP)

    Click here!

    GNP: "The Gross National Product (GNP) is the total dollar value of all final goods and services produced for consumption in society during a particular time period. The GNP does include allowances for depreciation and indirect business taxes such as those on sales and property." "Gross national product is the output of labor and property of US nationals regardless of the location of the labor and property. Gross National Product includes income earned by the factors of production (assets and labor) owned by a country's residents but excludes income produced within the country's borders by factors of production owned by nonresidents."

    Growth pole

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