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Urban Colossus: Why is New York America's Largest City?

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  • Edward L. Glaeser

Abstract

New York has been remarkably successful relative to any other large city outside of the sunbelt and it remains the nation's premier metropolis. What accounts for New York's rise and continuing success? The rise of New York in the early nineteenth century is the result of technological changes that moved ocean shipping from a point-to-point system to a hub and spoke system; New York's geography made it the natural hub of this system. Manufacturing then centered in New York because the hub of a transport system is, in many cases, the ideal place to transform raw materials into finished goods. This initial dominance was entrenched by New York's role as the hub for immigration. In the late 20th century, New York's survival is based almost entirely on finance and business services, which are also legacies of the port. In this period, New York's role as a hub still matters, but it is far less important than the edge that density and agglomeration give to the acquisition of knowledge.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11398.

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Date of creation: Jun 2005
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Publication status: published as Glaeser, Edward I. "Urban Colossus: Why Is New York America's Largest City?," FRB New York - Economic Policy Review, 2005, v11(2,Dec), 7-24.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11398

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  1. Edward Glaeser & Janet Kohlhase, 2003. "Cities, regions and the decline of transport costs," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 83(1), pages 197-228, October.
  2. Jess Gaspar & Edward Glaeser, 1996. "Information Technology and the Future of Cities," NBER Working Papers 5562, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Krugman, Paul, 1991. "Increasing Returns and Economic Geography," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(3), pages 483-99, June.
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Cited by:
  1. World Bank, 2007. "Brazil - São Paulo : Inputs for a Sustainable Competitive City Strategy, Volume 2. Background Report," World Bank Other Operational Studies 7986, The World Bank.
  2. Michael T. Owyang & Jeremy M. Piger & Howard J. Wall & Christopher H. Wheeler, 2007. "The economic performance of cities: a Markov-switching approach," Working Papers 2006-056, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  3. Benjamin Brishman, 2010. "The Rise of Vertical Specialization Trade," BEA Working Papers 0051, Bureau of Economic Analysis.
  4. Jacob L. Vigdor, 2007. "Is Urban Decay Bad? Is Urban Revitalization Bad Too?," NBER Working Papers 12955, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Becker, Bo, 2006. "City Size and Financial Development," SIFR Research Report Series 46, Institute for Financial Research.
  6. Bridgman, Benjamin, 2012. "The rise of vertical specialization trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 133-140.
  7. Tom Nicholas & Anna Scherbina, 2013. "Real Estate Prices During the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 41(2), pages 278-309, 06.
  8. Ridhwan, M.M. & Nijkamp, P. & Rietveld, P., 2008. "Regional development and monetary policy : a review of the role of monetary unions, capital mobility and locational effects," Serie Research Memoranda 0007, VU University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics, Business Administration and Econometrics.

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  1. Historical Economic Geography

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