Urban Functional Specialisation and the Interplay between Firm’s Communication Costs
AbstractThis paper focuses on the functional specialisation of a system of cities, with particular attention to the role and the formation process of secondary business centers. At the european level, the latters can be identified in the large number of regional capitals, and properly defined as cities hosting both headquarters of multi-location firms and providers of standard non-tradable business services (SBS). I present a theoretical model in which the changes in urban system’s degree of functional specialisation are linked to (i) firms’ organisational choices, since firms decide whether splitting into headquarter and production plant or remaining integrated in a single establishment and to (ii) firms’ location decision with regards to the proximity with the tradable advanced business services providers. I model two types of communication costs, one between headquarters and advanced tradable business services providers (ABS) and one between headquarters and production plants. The interplay between the two types of communication costs is shown to have effects on the transition process from an “integrated” urban system where each city hosts every different functions to a “functionally specialised” urban system where each city is either a primary business center (hosting ABS), a secondary business centers (SBS) or a pure manufacturing city and all this city-types coexist in equilibrium. In particular, I find that maximum functional specialisation of the urban system turns out to be feasible only if firms face a very high share of the total costs represented by their heaquarter spending.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna in its series Working Papers with number wp877.
Date of creation: Apr 2013
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Find related papers by JEL classification:
- R30 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - General
- L23 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Organization of Production
- R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)
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