Climate, Water Navigability, and Economic Development
Geographic information systems (GIS) data was used on a global scale to examine the relationship between climate (ecozones), water navigability, and economic development in terms of GDP per capita. GDP per capita and the spatial density of economic activity measured as GDP per km2 are high in temperate ecozones and in regions proximate to the sea (within 100 km of the ocean or a sea-navigable waterway). Temperate ecozones proximate to the sea account for 8 percent of the world's inhabited land area, 23 percent of the world's population, and 53 percent of the world's GDP. The GDP densities in temperate ecozones proximate to the sea are on average eighteen times higher than in non-proximate non-temperate areas.
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Published in Gordon L. Clark, Maryann P. Feldman, and Meric S. Gertler, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Economic Geography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000).