Call for Papers
Special Issue: Space and Health

The health crises caused by the COVID-19 pandemic highlight, more than ever, the necessity of scientific research to inform policy action. In the current situation, it is vital that any measure taken by policy makers are mitigates the spread of the disease without causing long-lasting social and economic harm. Knowledge about the spread of the disease through spatial and social networks, and about the effectiveness of different measures in reducing this spread, but also how the population will be affected economically and socially, are of particular relevance. As any policy action is embedded in its institutional and social context, not every measure can be implemented in all contexts. Careful evaluation and comparison of different settings, including the organization of the healthcare systems and the geographic and demographic characteristics of a region or country, is therefore essential. This crisis exemplifies the importance of the spatial and geographical dimension of health is. The relevance of this interlinkage is not limited to the spread of contagious diseases. The planning of healthcare services, the differences in accessibility of services between urban and rural regions, the varying costs of access to healthcare for different (socioeconomic) groups of the population, the impact of these on utilization, and environmental shocks on population health are just a few examples illustrating the close link between space, socioeconomics and health.

The aim of this special issue is to bring together research from different fields, such as, but not limited to, health economics, economic geography, demography, (social) epidemiology and regional science. REGION welcomes conceptual papers as well as well-founded empirical papers answering research question similar to the following:

  • How do epidemics spread through space? What is the role of network effects in the spread of epidemics in different regional settings?
  • What are the economic and social consequences of a pandemic, especially from a regional perspective? Is (regional) productivity affected by policy measures that try to mitigate a pandemic in the short- and long-run?
  • What role do spatial factors play for the effective provision of healthcare (in different countries)? What is the nature of urban/rural differences in healthcare delivery? What are the effects of centralized or decentralized healthcare systems, and which are more effective in general, and in the specific case of a pandemic?
  • What can we learn about spillover effects in health and healthcare using Spatial Health Econometrics? What is the influence of space/geography on healthcare providers markets, e.g. regarding competition?
  • How do differences in the geography and natural environment affect population health and which factors are of particular relevance?

Submission instructions:

  • This special issue aims at being multidisciplinary and is open to social sciences, humanities, economics, and (economic) geography
  • All papers submitted will be subject to the normal blind refereeing process undertaken by the journal
  • Papers must be analytic and rigorous
  • Submitted papers must not be under review by any other journal
  • Submit your paper via the journals website:, where you can find detailed instructions and guidelines for preparing your submission

Closing date: Full papers should be submitted via the journal website until November 30th 2020.

Guest editors:
Anna-Theresa Renner (Vienna University of Economics and Business,
Roman Hoffmann (Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact research,
Benedetta Pongiglione (Bocconi University,
Rita Santos (Centre of Health Economics, University of York,
Co-editor of REGION:
Sebastien Bourdin (EM Normandie Business School,

See full announcement here.

REGION is the journal of ERSA (European Regional Science Association). It publishes original scientific work in Regional Science, Regional Economics, Economic Geography, and related areas. REGION is open access. It is freely available to readers and does not charge submission or publication fees from authors.

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