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Buzz: face-to-face contact and the urban economy

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  • Michael Storper
  • Anthony J. Venables

Abstract

This paper argues that existing models of urban concentrations are incomplete unless grounded in the most fundamental aspect of proximity; face-to-face contact. Face-to-face contact has four main features; it is an efficient communication technology; it can help solve incentive problems; it can facilitate socialization and learning; and it provides psychological motivation. We discuss each of these features in turn, and develop formal economic models of two of them. Face-to-face is particularly important in environments where information is imperfect, rapidly changing, and not easily codified, key features of many creative activities.

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File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/20008/
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library in its series LSE Research Online Documents on Economics with number 20008.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:20008

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Keywords: Agglomeration; clustering; urban economics; face-to-face;

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References

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  1. Adam B. Jaffe & Manuel Trajtenberg & Rebecca Henderson, 1992. "Geographic Localization of Knowledge Spillovers as Evidenced by Patent Citations," NBER Working Papers 3993, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  5. Durlauf,S.N., 2003. "Neighborhood effects," Working papers 17, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
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  7. Klein, Benjamin & Leffler, Keith B, 1981. "The Role of Market Forces in Assuring Contractual Performance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 615-41, August.
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  9. Sukkoo Kim, 2002. "The Reconstruction of the American Urban Landscape in the Twentieth Century," NBER Working Papers 8857, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Scott, Allen J. (ed.), 2001. "Global City-Regions: Trends, Theory, Policy," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198297994, September.
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  13. 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.
  14. Guy Dumais & Glenn Ellison & Edward L. Glaeser, 2002. "Geographic Concentration As A Dynamic Process," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(2), pages 193-204, May.
  15. Michael R. Darby & Lynne G. Zucker, 2002. "Growing by Leaps and Inches: Creative Destruction, Real Cost Reduction, and Inching Up," NBER Working Papers 8947, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Jess Gaspar & Edward Glaeser, 1996. "Information Technology and the Future of Cities," NBER Working Papers 5562, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Bengt Holmstrom & John Roberts, 1998. "The Boundaries of the Firm Revisited," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(4), pages 73-94, Fall.
  18. Kim, Sukkoo, 1995. "Expansion of Markets and the Geographic Distribution of Economic Activities: The Tends in U.S. Regional Manufacturing Structure, 1860-1987," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(4), pages 881-908, November.
  19. Hubert Jayet, 1983. "Chômer plus souvent en région urbaine, plus longtemps en région rurale," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 153(1), pages 47-57.
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