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Geographic Concentration as a Dynamic Process

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  • Guy Dumais
  • Glenn Ellison
  • Edward Glaeser

Abstract

The degree of geographic concentration of individual manufacturing industries in the U.S. has declined only slightly in the last twenty years. At the same time, new plant births, plant expansions, contractions and closures have shifted large quantities of employment across plants, firms, and locations. This paper uses data from the Census Bureau's Longitudinal Research Database to examine how relatively stable levels of geographic concentration emerge from this dynamic process. While industries' agglomeration levels tend to remain fairly constant, we find that there is greater variation in the locations of these agglomerations. We then decompose aggregate concentration changes into portions attributable to plant births, expansions, contractions, and closures, and find that the location choices of new firms and differences in growth rates have played the most significant role in reducing levels of geographic concentration, while plant closures have tended to reinforce agglomeration. Finally, we look at coagglomeration patterns to test three of Marshall's theories of industry agglomeration: (1) agglomeration saves transport costs by proximity to input suppliers or final consumers, (2) agglomeration allows for labor market pooling, and (3) agglomeration facilitates intellectual spillovers. While there is some truth behind all three theories, we find that industrial location is far more driven by labor mix than by any of the other explanatory variables.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 6270.

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Date of creation: Nov 1997
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Publication status: published as Dumais, Guy, Glenn Ellison and Edward L. Glaeser. "Geographic Concentration As A Dynamic Process," Review of Economics and Statistics, 2002, v84(2,May), 193-204.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6270

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  1. Paul Krugman, 1990. "Increasing Returns and Economic Geography," NBER Working Papers 3275, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Thomas J. Holmes, 1996. "The effects of state policies on the location of industry: evidence from state borders," Staff Report 205, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  3. Bartik, Timothy J, 1985. "Business Location Decisions in the United States: Estimates of the Effects of Unionization, Taxes, and Other Characteristics of States," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 3(1), pages 14-22, January.
  4. Steve J. Davis & John Haltiwanger, 1991. "Gross Job Creation, Gross Job Destruction and Employment Reallocation," NBER Working Papers 3728, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Carlton, Dennis W, 1983. "The Location and Employment Choices of New Firms: An Econometric Model with Discrete and Continuous Endogenous Variables," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 65(3), pages 440-49, August.
  6. Dunne, T. & Roberts, M.J. & Samuelson, L., 1988. "The Growth And Failure Of U.S. Manufacturing Plants," Papers 1-87-5, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  7. Crihfield, John B., 1990. "Manufacturing supply : A long-run, metropolitan view," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 327-349, November.
  8. 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.
  9. Glaeser, Edward Ludwig & Kallal, Hedi D. & Scheinkman, Jose A. & Shleifer, Andrei, 1992. "Growth in Cities," Scholarly Articles 3451309, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  10. Robert H Mcguckin & Suzanne Peck, 1992. "Manufacturing Establishments Reclassified Into New Industries: The Effect Of Survey Design Rules," Working Papers 92-14, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  11. Steven J. Davis & John C. Haltiwanger & Scott Schuh, 1998. "Job Creation and Destruction," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262540932, December.
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