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Urban Development in the United States, 1690–1990

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  • Sukkoo Kim
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    Abstract

    The United States transformed itself from a rural to an urban society over the last three centuries. After a century of unremarkable growth, the pace of urbanization was historically unprecedented between the nineteenth and the early twentieth centuries. In the twentieth century, the urban population continued to increase but in a much more dispersed manner as the suburban population increased. Throughout these developments, cities also exhibited considerable variation in their population sizes. This paper finds that the pace and pattern of U.S. urban development are explained by changes in regional comparative advantage and in economies in transportation and local public goods, which in turn were determined by the changes in the economic structures of cities. This paper also finds that cities varied considerably in size because the larger cities reduced market transaction costs associated with coordinating greater geographic division of labor.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Southern Economic Association in its journal Southern Economic Journal.

    Volume (Year): 66 (2000)
    Issue (Month): 4 (April)
    Pages: 855-880

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    Handle: RePEc:sej:ancoec:v:66:4:y:2000:p:855-880

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    Cited by:
    1. González-Val, Rafael & Lanaspa, Luis & Sanz, Fernando, 2008. "New Evidence on Gibrat’s Law for Cities," MPRA Paper 10411, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Ramos, Arturo & Sanz-Gracia, Fernando & González-Val, Rafael, 2013. "A new framework for the US city size distribution: Empirical evidence and theory," MPRA Paper 52190, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Nicholas Crafts & Tony Venables, 2002. "Globalization in history: a geographical perspective," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 2135, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    4. Guy Michaels & Ferdinand Rauch & Stephen Redding, 2008. "Urbanisation and Structural Transformation," CEP Discussion Papers dp0892, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    5. Howard Bodenhorn & David Cuberes, 2010. "Financial Development and City Growth: Evidence from Northeastern American Cities, 1790-1870," NBER Working Papers 15997, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Kim, Sukkoo, 2004. "Industrialization and Urbanization: Did the Steam Engine Contribute to the Growth of Cities in the United States?," Institute of European Studies, Working Paper Series qt4hd75171, Institute of European Studies, UC Berkeley.
    7. González-Val, Rafael & Lanaspa, Luis, 2011. "Patterns in U.S. urban growth (1790–2000)," MPRA Paper 31006, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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