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Decentralized Employment and the Transformation of the American City

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  • Edward L. Glaeser
  • Matthew E. Kahn

Abstract

This paper examines the decentralization of employment using zip code data on employment by industry. Most American cities are decentralized on average less than 16 percent of employment in metropolitan areas is within a three mile radius of the city center. In decentralized cities, the classic stylized facts of urban economics (i.e. prices fall with distance to the city center, commute times rise with distance and poverty falls with distance) no longer hold. Decentralization is most common in manufacturing and least common in services. The human capital level of an industry predicts its centralization, but the dominant factor explaining decentralization is the residential preferences of workers. Political borders also impact employment density which suggests that local government policies significantly influence the location of industry.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 8117.

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Date of creation: Feb 2001
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Publication status: published as Glaeser, E. and M. Kahn. “Decentralized Employment and the Transformation of the American City." Brookings-Wharton Papers on Urban Affairs 2 (2001).
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8117

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Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Suburban Employment in Singur, India
    by Matthew E. Kahn in Environmental and Urban Economics on 2008-09-17 15:57:00
  2. #5 in the 1993 Ph.D Cohort?
    by Matthew Kahn in Environmental and Urban Economics on 2013-05-31 00:55:00
  3. Center City Job Growth Caused by High Quality of Life Downtown
    by Matthew E. Kahn in Environmental and Urban Economics on 2011-06-08 14:25:00
  4. Fix it First
    by Matthew E. Kahn in The Reality-Based Community on 2013-02-14 16:24:46
  5. The Return of the Spatial Mismatch Hypothesis
    by Matthew E. Kahn in The Reality-Based Community on 2013-07-29 04:29:23
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