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Aging Nations and the Future of Cities

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  • Gaigné, Carl
  • Thisse, Jacques-François

Abstract

We investigate whether an aging population may challenge the supremacy of large working-cities. To this end, we develop an economic geography model with two types of individuals (workers and retirees) and two sectors (local services and manufacturing). Workers produce and consume; the elderly consume only. As a result, the mobility decision of workers is driven by both the wage gap and the cost-of-living gap, unlike the elderly who react to the differences in the cost of living only. We show that the return of pre-industrial urban system dominated by rentier cities does not seem to be on the agenda. Quite the opposite, the future of large working-cities is still bright, the reason being that today’s urban costs act as a strong force that prevents a large share of local services and manufacturing firms from following the rentiers in the elderly-cities, while the supply of differentiated b2c services prevent their complete separation.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 7403.

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Date of creation: Aug 2009
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7403

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Keywords: aging population; commuting costs; economic geography; sectoral mobility; spatial mobility;

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  1. Edward L. Glaeser & Janet E. Kohlhase, 2003. "Cities, Regions and the Decline of Transport Costs," NBER Working Papers 9886, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Takatoshi Tabuchi & Jacques-Francois Thisse, 2003. "Regional Specialization, Urban Hierarchy, and Commuting Costs," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-223, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
  3. Edward L. Glaeser, Jed Kolko, and Albert Saiz, 2001. "Consumer city," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 1(1), pages 27-50, January.
  4. Stuart A. Gabriel & Stuart S. Rosenthal, 2004. "Quality of the Business Environment Versus Quality of Life: Do Firms and Households Like the Same Cities?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 438-444, February.
  5. Masahisa Fujita & Paul Krugman & Anthony J. Venables, 2001. "The Spatial Economy: Cities, Regions, and International Trade," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262561476, December.
  6. Chen, Yong & Rosenthal, Stuart S., 2008. "Local amenities and life-cycle migration: Do people move for jobs or fun?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(3), pages 519-537, November.
  7. Glaeser, Edward L. & Kahn, Matthew E., 2004. "Sprawl and urban growth," 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 56, pages 2481-2527 Elsevier.
  8. Ginsburgh, Victor & Papageorgiou, Yorgo & Thisse, Jacques-Francois, 1985. "On existence and stability of spatial equilibria and steady-states," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 149-158, June.
  9. Paul Krugman, 1990. "Increasing Returns and Economic Geography," NBER Working Papers 3275, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. David Plane, 2012. "What about aging in regional science?," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer, vol. 48(2), pages 469-483, April.
  2. Carl Gaigné & Jacques-François Thisse, 2013. "New economic geography and the city," Working Papers 188884, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, France.

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