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Survival of the fittest in cities: agglomeration, selection, and polarisation

Behrens, Kristian and Robert-Nicoud, Frédéric (2008) Survival of the fittest in cities: agglomeration, selection, and polarisation. CEP Discussion Paper, No. 894. Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK. ISBN 9780853283270

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Abstract

Empirical studies consistently report that labour productivity and TFP rise with city size. The reason is that cities attract the most productive agents, select the best of them, and make the selected ones even more productive via various agglomeration economies. This paper provides a microeconomically founded model of vertical city differentiation in which the latter two mechanisms (`agglomeration' and `selection') operate simultaneously. Our model is both rich and tractable enough to allow for a detailed investigation of when cities emerge, what determines their size, and how they interact through the channels of trade. We then uncover stylised facts and suggestive econometric evidence that are consistent with the most distinctive equilibrium features of our model. We show, in particular, that larger cities are both more productive and more unequal (`polarised'), that inter-city trade is associated with higher income inequalities, and that the proximity of large urban centres inhibits the development of nearby cities.

Item Type: Monograph (Discussion Paper)
Official URL: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/
Additional Information: © 2008 The authors
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Journal of Economic Literature Classification System: R - Urban, Rural, and Regional Economics > R1 - General Regional Economics > R12 - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade
F - International Economics > F1 - Trade > F12 - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies
Sets: Collections > Economists Online
Research centres and groups > Centre for Economic Performance (CEP)
Rights: http://www.lse.ac.uk/library/usingTheLibrary/academicSupport/OA/depositYourResearch.aspx
Identification Number: No. 894
Date Deposited: 06 Jul 2010 15:18
URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/28506/

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