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Spatial evolution of the US urban system

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  • Yannis M. Ioannides
  • Henry G. Overman

Abstract

We examine spatial features of the evolution of the US urban system using US Census data for 1900--1990 with non-parametric kernel estimation techniques that accommodate the complexity of the urban system. We consider spatial features of the location of cities and city outcomes in terms of population and wages. Our results suggest a number of interesting puzzles. In particular, we find that city location is essentially a random process and that interactions between cities do not help determine the size of a city. Both of these findings contradict our theoretical priors about the role of geography (physical and economic) in determining city outcomes. More detailed study suggests some solutions that allow us to restore a role for geography but a number of puzzles remain. Copyright 2004, Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Journal of Economic Geography.

Volume (Year): 4 (2004)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 131-156

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Handle: RePEc:oup:jecgeo:v:4:y:2004:i:2:p:131-156

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  1. Quah, Danny T., 1996. "Regional convergence clusters across Europe," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-5), pages 951-958, April.
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  6. Overman, Henry G. & Ioannides, Yannis M., 2001. "Cross-Sectional Evolution of the U.S. City Size Distribution," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 543-566, May.
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  11. Ioannides, Yannis M. & Overman, Henry G., 2003. "Zipf's law for cities: an empirical examination," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 127-137, March.
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  14. Quah, Danny, 1996. "Regional Convergence Clusters Across Europe," CEPR Discussion Papers 1286, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  16. Quah, Danny T, 1997. " Empirics for Growth and Distribution: Stratification, Polarization, and Convergence Clubs," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 27-59, March.
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  20. Paul Krugman, 1990. "Increasing Returns and Economic Geography," NBER Working Papers 3275, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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