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A Model of Sequential City Growth

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  • Cuberes David

    () (Clemson University)

Abstract

Strong evidence indicates that in most countries cities tend to develop sequentially, with the initially largest cities growing first. This paper presents a model of city growth that rationalizes this pattern. Increasing returns to scale constitute the force that favors agglomeration of resources in a city, and convex costs associated with the stock of installed capital represent the congestion force that limits city size. The key to generating sequential city growth is the assumption of irreversible investment in physical capital. As expected, the presence of a positive external effect of aggregate city capital on individual firms makes the competitive equilibrium inefficient.

Suggested Citation

  • Cuberes David, 2009. "A Model of Sequential City Growth," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-41, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejmac:v:9:y:2009:i:1:n:18
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    Cited by:

    1. Rafael González-Val, 2016. "Historical urban growth in Europe (1300–1800)," Working Papers 2016/8, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    2. Kristian Giesen & Jens Suedekum, 2012. "The Size Distribution across all "Cities": A Unifying Approach," CESifo Working Paper Series 3730, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Sánchez-Vidal, María & González-Val, Rafael & Viladecans-Marsal, Elisabet, 2014. "Sequential city growth in the US: Does age matter?," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 29-37.
    4. Giesen, Kristian & Suedekum, Jens, 2014. "City age and city size," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 193-208.
    5. Cuberes, David, 2011. "Sequential city growth: Empirical evidence," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 229-239, March.
    6. Rafael González-Val & Luis Lanaspa, 2016. "Patterns in US Urban Growth, 1790-2000," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 50(2), pages 289-309, February.
    7. Wu, Jian-Xin & He, Ling-Yun, 2017. "How do Chinese cities grow? A distribution dynamics approach," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 470(C), pages 105-118.
    8. Biller, Dan & Andres, Luis & Cuberes, David, 2014. "A dynamic spatial model of rural-urban transformation with public goods," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7051, The World Bank.
    9. Howard Bodenhorn & David Cuberes, 2010. "Financial Development and City Growth: Evidence from Northeastern American Cities, 1790-1870," NBER Working Papers 15997, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • N90 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • O57 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Comparative Studies of Countries
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)

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