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Industry churning and the evolution of cities: Evidence for Germany

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  • Findeisen, Sebastian
  • Südekum, Jens

Abstract

In this paper we show that the recent model by Gilles Duranton [Duranton, G., 2007. Urban evolutions: The fast, the slow, and the still. American Economic Review 97, 197-221] performs remarkably well in replicating the city size distribution of West Germany, much better than the simple rank-size rule known as Zipf's law. The main mechanism of this theoretical framework is the "churning" of industries across cities. Little is known in urban economics about the determinants of local industry turnover so far. We present an empirical analysis of the excess churning index for West German cities, which describes the strength of intra-city industry reallocations over time. We find that urban growth and industry turnover are not notably correlated: Some, but not all fast-growing cities have notably changed. Secondly, human capital is positively related to growth and turnover, but only among successful cities. Industrial change within unsuccessful cities is driven by the disappearance of old-fashioned and declining sectors such as agriculture or mining. On a more general level our results suggest that the recent model by Duranton is a powerful description of the urban growth process. Still there are some aspects that are not captured by that model, which are at the core of other theories of urban growth.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Urban Economics.

Volume (Year): 64 (2008)
Issue (Month): 2 (September)
Pages: 326-339

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Handle: RePEc:eee:juecon:v:64:y:2008:i:2:p:326-339

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622905

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Keywords: Industry turnover Urban growth Structural change Churning City size distribution Zipf's law;

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  1. Esteban Rossi-Hansberg & Mark L. J. Wright, 2003. "Urban structure and growth," Discussion Paper / Institute for Empirical Macroeconomics 141, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  2. Combes, Pierre-Philippe & Magnac, Thierry & Robin, Jean-Marc, 2003. "The Dynamics of Local Employment in France," CEPR Discussion Papers 3912, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Glaeser, Edward Ludwig & Kallal, Hedi D. & Scheinkman, Jose A. & Shleifer, Andrei, 1992. "Growth in Cities," Scholarly Articles 3451309, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. Gabaix, Xavier & Ioannides, Yannis M., 2004. "The evolution of city size distributions," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: J. V. Henderson & J. F. Thisse (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 53, pages 2341-2378 Elsevier.
  5. J. Vernon Henderson & Ari Kuncoro & Matthew Turner, 1992. "Industrial Development in Cities," NBER Working Papers 4178, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Jan Eeckhout, 2004. "Gibrat's Law for (All) Cities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1429-1451, December.
  7. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 1991. "Quality Ladders in the Theory of Growth," NBER Working Papers 3099, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Xavier Gabaix, 1999. "Zipf'S Law For Cities: An Explanation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 739-767, August.
  9. Gilles Duranton, 2007. "Urban Evolutions: The Fast, the Slow, and the Still," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(1), pages 197-221, March.
  10. Steven J. Davis & John Haltiwanger, 1995. "Measuring Gross Worker and Job Flows," NBER Working Papers 5133, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Glaeser, Edward L. & Scheinkman, JoseA. & Shleifer, Andrei, 1995. "Economic growth in a cross-section of cities," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 117-143, August.
  12. Jonathan Eaton & Zvi Eckstein, 1994. "Cities and Growth: Theory and Evidence from france and Japan," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 36, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  13. Simon, Curtis J., 1998. "Human Capital and Metropolitan Employment Growth," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 223-243, March.
  14. Duncan Black & Vernon Henderson, 1999. "A Theory of Urban Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(2), pages 252-284, April.
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