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

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  • Michael Storper
  • Anthony J. Venables

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Storper & Anthony J. Venables, 2004. "Buzz: face-to-face contact and the urban economy," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(4), pages 351-370, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jecgeo:v:4:y:2004:i:4:p:351-370
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    JEL classification:

    • R1 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics

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