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Chen, "Empirical explorations on Alonso's five bell-shaped propositions: The case of Taiwan," 1991

USC Dissertation in Urban Planning.
August 26, 2009

Xueming Chen, Ph.D.

Abstract (Summary)
This study empirically explores Alonso's five bell-shaped propositions (1979) by using Taiwan's development experience during the last four decades. That Taiwan has manifested bell-shaped curves for its five development processes, that interactive relations among different processes are endogenously determined, and that demographic transition is relatively independent, all support Alonso's five bell-shaped propositions. The study also makes a comparison of the U.S. and Taiwan in support of Easterlin's version of the hypothesis: bell-shaped curves can also be observed along an income axis and short-term bell-shaped curves might be affected more by endogenous forces than by policy interventions. The study has found: (1) given that particular forces underlying the turning points of the five processes are not necessarily the same, it seems unlikely to have a "universally-accepted" temporal sequence of turning points; (2) bell-shaped curves exist not only in the long run, but also in the short run. It is concluded that the bell-shaped curves of more recently developed countries might take less time than those of the "first-world" countries because later development has benefitted by importing available technology, taking advantage of decades of innovation and elaboration. Finally, this dissertation makes two methodological contributions: (1) a discussion of the feasibility of applying the cross-impact techniques to studies on interactive relations among the five development processes; (2) a design of a new index for measuring geographic concentration. (Copies available exclusively from Micrographics Department, Doheny Library, USC, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0182.)

Advisor: Gordon, Peter