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Firm Fragmentation And Urban Patterns

  • Esteban Rossi-Hansberg
  • Pierre-Daniel Sarte
  • Raymond Owens iii

We document several empirical regularities regarding the evolution of urban structure in the largest U.S. metropolitan areas over the period 1980-90. These regularities relate to changes in resident population, employment, occupations, as well as the number and size of establishments in different sections of the metropolitan area. We then propose a theory of urban structure that emphasizes the location and internal structure decisions of firms. In particular, firms can decide to locate their headquarters and operation plants in different regions of the city. Given that cities experienced positive population growth throughout the 1980s, we show that firm fragmentation produces the diverse set of facts documented in the article. Copyright � (2009) by the Economics Department of the University of Pennsylvania and the Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association.

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Article provided by Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association in its journal International Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 50 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (02)
Pages: 143-186

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Handle: RePEc:ier:iecrev:v:50:y:2009:i:1:p:143-186
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  1. Gilles Duranton & Diego Puga, 2001. "From sectoral to functional urban specialisation," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20101, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  2. Robert E. Lucas & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2002. "On the Internal Structure of Cities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(4), pages 1445-1476, July.
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  13. Luis Garicano & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2006. "Organization and Inequality in a Knowledge Economy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(4), pages 1383-1435, November.
  14. Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2004. "Optimal Urban Land Use and Zoning," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 7(1), pages 69-106, January.
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