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Buzz: face-to-face contact and the urban economy

  • Michael Storper
  • Anthony J. Venables

This paper argues that existing models of urban concentrations are incomplete unless grounded in the most fundamental aspect of proximity; face-to-face contact. Face-to-face contact has four main features: it is an efficient communication technology; it can help solve incentive problems; it can facilitate socialization and learning; and it provides psychological motivation. We discuss each of these features in turn, and develop formal economic models of two of them. Face-to-face is particularly important in environments where information is imperfect, rapidly changing, and not easily codified, key features of many creative activities. Copyright 2004, Oxford University Press.

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Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Journal of Economic Geography.

Volume (Year): 4 (2004)
Issue (Month): 4 (August)
Pages: 351-370

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Handle: RePEc:oup:jecgeo:v:4:y:2004:i:4:p:351-370
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