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Cities, matching and the productivity gains of agglomeration

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  • Andersson, Fredrik
  • Burgess, Simon
  • Lane, Julia I.

Abstract

The striking geographical concentration of economic activities suggests that there are substantial benefits toagglomeration. However, the nature of those benefits remains unclear. In this paper we take advantage of a newdataset to quantify the role of one of the main contenders - the matching of workers and jobs. Using individuallevel data for two large US states we show that thicker urban labour markets are associated with moreassortative matching between workers and firms. Another critical condition is required for this to generatehigher productivity: complementarity of worker and firm quality in the production function. Usingestablishment level productivity regressions, we show that such complementarity is found in our data. Puttingtogether the production and matching relationships, we show that production complementarity and assortativematching is an important source of the urban productivity premium.
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Suggested Citation

  • Andersson, Fredrik & Burgess, Simon & Lane, Julia I., 2007. "Cities, matching and the productivity gains of agglomeration," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 112-128, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:juecon:v:61:y:2007:i:1:p:112-128
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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