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The effect of information and communication technologies on urban structure

Ioannides, Yannis Menelaos and Overman, Henry G. and Rossi-Hansberg, Esteban and Schmidheiny, Kurt (2008) The effect of information and communication technologies on urban structure. Economic Policy, 23 (54). pp. 201-242. ISSN 0266-4658

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Identification Number: 10.1111/j.1468-0327.2008.00200.x


This paper examines the effects of information and communication technologies (ICT) on urban structure. Improvements in ICT may lead to changes in urban structure, for example, because they reduce the costs of communicating ideas from a distance. Hence, they may weaken local agglomeration forces and thus provide incentives for economic activity to relocate to smaller urban centres. We use international data on city size distributions in different countries and on country-level characteristics to test the effect of ICT. We find robust evidence that increases in the number of telephone lines per capita encourage the spatial dispersion of population in that they lead to a more concentrated distribution of city sizes. So far the evidence on internet usage is more speculative, although it goes in the same direction. We argue that the internet is likely to have similar, or even larger, effects on urban structures once its use has spread more thoroughly through different economies.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2008 CEPR, CES, MSH
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
T Technology > T Technology (General)
Sets: Departments > Geography and Environment
Research centres and groups > Spatial Economics Research Centre
Research centres and groups > Centre for Economic Performance (CEP)
Date Deposited: 15 Dec 2010 16:08
Last Modified: 11 Feb 2011 15:21

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