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On the productivity advantage of cities

Jacob, Nick and Mion, Giordano (2020) On the productivity advantage of cities. CEP Discussion Papers (1687). Centre for Economic Performance, LSE, London, UK.

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Abstract

Ever since Marshall (1890) agglomeration externalities have been viewed as the key factor explaining the existence of cities and their size. However, while the various micro foundations of agglomeration externalities stress the importance of Total Factor Productivity (TFP), the empirical evidence on agglomeration externalities rests on measures obtained using firm revenue or value-added as a measure of firm output: revenue-based TFP (TFP-R). This paper uses data on French manufacturing firms' revenue, quantity and prices to estimate TFP and TFP-R and decompose the latter into various elements. Our analysis suggests that the revenue productivity advantage of denser areas is mainly driven by higher prices charged rather than differences in TFP. At the same time, firms in denser areas are able to sell higher quantities, and generate higher revenues, despite higher prices. These and other results we document suggest that firms in denser areas are able to charge higher prices because they sell higher demand/quality products. Finally, while the correlation between firm revenue TFP and firm size is positive in each location, it is also systematically related to density: firms with higher (lower) TFP-R account for a larger (smaller) share of total revenue in denser areas. These patterns thus amplify in aggregate regional-level figures any firm-level differences in productivity across space.

Item Type: Monograph (Discussion Paper)
Official URL: https://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/discussion...
Additional Information: © 2020 The Authors
Divisions: Centre for Economic Performance
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
JEL classification: R - Urban, Rural, and Regional Economics > R1 - General Regional Economics > R12 - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade
R - Urban, Rural, and Regional Economics > R1 - General Regional Economics > R15 - Econometric and Input-Output Models; Other Models
D - Microeconomics > D2 - Production and Organizations > D24 - Production; Cost; Capital and Total Factor Productivity; Capacity
L - Industrial Organization > L1 - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance > L11 - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2021 11:48
Last Modified: 16 Jan 2021 00:37
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/108436

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