Keywords: bundle, consumer', s surplus, externalities, institutional coordination, quality, rent theory, territorial development
A meeting between quality and territorialism: the rent theory reviewed in the context of territorial development, with reference to French examples
The objective of this paper is to show that revisiting the theory of rent can be a useful tool for analysing new perspectives of territorial development. For more than a century, economic theory has been forgetting about the concept or making it commonplace through generalising its use to all production factors in situations of scarcity, monopoly or quasi-monopoly. We feel that coming back to the real origin of rent (i.e. the "natural agents" of production, the non-renewable or non-substitutable resources), as well as applying it to the whole range of environmental amenities intrinsic to a territory, can make this concept useful once again. It can then be used as a tool that enables the analysis of various forms of internalisation of externalities - of environmental origin or not - by different actors using it in the context of a strategy of sustainable territorial development. The "rent of territorial quality", which this paper seeks to analyse, is obtained through the combined valorisation of intrinsic characteristics of a given geographical space and the quality of products and services rooted in. It can constitute the central axis of a new strategy of sustainable territorial development. First, the paper clarifies the contextual reasons for a return to the concept of rent and justifies its relevance when applied to quality and territory. Second, it proposes a framework of theoretical reinterpretation along the two major lines of the rent theory - the Ricardian one, then the Marshallian - and shows that, from the point of view of the relationship between quality and territorial development, they are complementary. Third, it constructs a typology of different types of observed rent, and scans their limits and differences as compared with the conceptual model presented here. It shows that institutional coordinations are absolutely necessary in order to develop and give permanence to the rents of territorial quality in a development perspective.