Spatial Justice in South Asia: A ZIPF’S Curve Approach
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South Asia Democratic Forum
Publication date: 2020-06-17
Stosunki Międzynarodowe – International Relations 2018;54(2):105–119
Most conflicts are territorial, nurtured by the rents from natural resources and strategic locations. Struggles over land, water and energy, clashes for control of routes, ports and airports; all these are often implicit in the more broadcast confrontations attributed exclusively to inequalities, culture, religion or ideologies. On the other hand, many of these territorial conflicts are internal to each country and, beyond issues related to the spatial allocation of rents from natural resources and control of strategic locations, there are spatial bargains on taxes and public expenditures that can lead to more enduring distrust. The paper assumes the the spatial profile of land, water and energy influences the spatial pattern of population distribution observed in regularities of the Zipf’s Curve that relates the Size and Rank of the Cities of Each Country. It aims to demonstrate how regional governance, mirrored in the spatial allocation of governmental taxes and expenditures, plays a crucial role in urban concentration and spatial justice. The paper presents Zipf’s Curve estimates for South Asian countries and maps for various countries, the differences between the estimated curve and the population of various cities. The result analysis indicates that the spatial distribution of rents obtained from natural resources and public transferences play a significant role in the spatial distribution of wealth. Summing up, there are reasons to believe that governance influences spatial justice, specifically through the spatial allocation of property rights over natural resources as well as through the spatial distribution of public spending. Moreover regional conflicts are remarkably associated with places and cities that, according to Zipf’s Analytical Scheme, are below the level of what would be expected.