Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date


Document Number

Research Paper Number 2010-18


There is an extensive literature on or relating to development issues of energy rich economies – particularly those in the developing world. While national-level studies abound, the analyses of these economies at a regional level or with a regional and spatial perspective are scarce. Generally, a bottom up regional approach to development and the value of insights that regional models and comparative regional studies provide have not received sufficient attention in the field of development economics. Analyzing development sustainability in energy rich economies at a regional scale may provide insights not otherwise possible. National scale studies and models are mostly sectoral and generally ignore interesting development issues arising from spatial organization of production, distribution of physical and human capital over space, and spatial factors affecting the diversification of capital base. These studies mostly focus on developing economies while a regional perspective can cut across all energy rich economies in both the developing and developed world. A regional perspective can open doors to contributions from multidisciplinary spatial scientists from a wide range of fields including geography, planning, regional science and regional economics. Finally, using sub-national regions as units of analysis provides a richer picture of development at the national level and can shed light on important issues dealing with global sustainable development. In this paper we discuss why ‘region’ may provide a more flexible unit of analysis for energy rich economies; present a general development framework based on constancy of total capital stock; and outline a comprehensive knowledge base for energy rich regions that can be used to derive patterns of development, do comparative studies, and address some geo-economic and geopolitical issues that are integral to the world energy system.