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Urbanization in Developing Countries

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  • Vernon Henderson

    () (Eastman Professor of Political Economy at Brown University.)

Abstract

The rapid urbanization in many developing countries over the past half century seems to have been accompanied by excessively high levels of concentration of the urban population in very large cities. Some degree of urban concentration may be desirable initially to reduce inter- and intraregional infrastructure expenditures. But in a mature system of cities, economic activity is more spread out. Standardized manufacturing production tends to be deconcentrated into smaller and medium-size metropolitan areas, whereas production in large metropolitan areas focuses on services, research and development, and nonstandardized manufacturing. The costs of excessive concentration (traffic accidents, health costs from exposure to high levels of air and water pollution, and time lost to long commutes) stem from the large size of megacities and underdeveloped institutions and human resources for urban planning and management. Alleviating excessively high urban concentration requires investments in interregional transport and telecommunications to facilitate deconcentration of industry. It also requires fiscal deconcentration, so that interior cities can raise the fiscal resources and provide the services needed to compete with primate cities for industry and population. Copyright 2002, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Vernon Henderson, 2002. "Urbanization in Developing Countries," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 17(1), pages 89-112.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:wbrobs:v:17:y:2002:i:1:p:89-112
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    Cited by:

    1. Rafiq, Shuddhasattwa & Salim, Ruhul & Nielsen, Ingrid, 2016. "Urbanization, openness, emissions, and energy intensity: A study of increasingly urbanized emerging economies," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 20-28.
    2. Sidney Turner & Richard Turner, 2011. "Capital cities: a special case in urban development," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 46(1), pages 19-35, February.
    3. Galiani, Sebastián & Gertler, Paul J. & Undurraga, Raimundo & Cooper, Ryan & Martínez, Sebastián & Ross, Adam, 2017. "Shelter from the storm: Upgrading housing infrastructure in Latin American slums," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 187-213.
    4. Henry Overman & Anthony J. Venables, 2005. "Cities in the Developing World," CEP Discussion Papers dp0695, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    5. Faguet, Jean-Paul & Shami, Mahvish, 2008. "Fiscal policy and spatial inequality in Latin America and beyond," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 27162, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    6. Ammar Malik & Andrew Crooks & Hilton Root & Melanie Swartz, 2015. "Exploring Creativity and Urban Development with Agent-Based Modeling," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 18(2), pages 1-12.
    7. Chun-Yu Ho & Dan Li, 2007. "Catching Up or Falling Behind? Income Distribution of Chinese Cities," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2007-22, Boston University - Department of Economics.
    8. World Bank, 2004. "Promoting the Rural Non-Farm Sector in Bangladesh : Volume 1. Summary Report," World Bank Other Operational Studies 14569, The World Bank.
    9. Deichmann, Uwe & Shilpi, Forhad & Vakis, Renos, 2009. "Urban Proximity, Agricultural Potential and Rural Non-farm Employment: Evidence from Bangladesh," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 645-660, March.
    10. Kellenberg, Derek K. & Mobarak, Ahmed Mushfiq, 2008. "Does rising income increase or decrease damage risk from natural disasters?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 788-802, May.
    11. World Bank, 2004. "Promoting the Rural Non-Farm Sector in Bangladesh : Volume 2. Main Report," World Bank Other Operational Studies 14380, The World Bank.
    12. Martin F. Quaas & Sjak Smulders, 2012. "Brown Growth, Green Growth, and the Efficiency of Urbanization," CESifo Working Paper Series 4044, CESifo Group Munich.
    13. Hanjra, Munir A. & Qureshi, M. Ejaz, 2010. "Global water crisis and future food security in an era of climate change," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 365-377, October.
    14. Martin F. Quaas & Sjak Smulders, 2008. "Pollution and the Efficiency of Urban Growth," Working Papers 2008.75, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    15. Waśniewski, Krzysztof, 2012. "Local governments’ fiscal policy as a factor of urban development – evidence from Poland," MPRA Paper 39176, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. repec:spr:qualqt:v:51:y:2017:i:6:d:10.1007_s11135-016-0417-z is not listed on IDEAS
    17. repec:eee:intman:v:23:y:2017:i:3:p:326-339 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Gary A. Dymski, 2013. "The Crisis of the Core Seen through the Eyes of the Periphery: A Schelling Model of the Global-South Megacity and the European Crisis," Panoeconomicus, Savez ekonomista Vojvodine, Novi Sad, Serbia, vol. 60(4), pages 433-455, June.
    19. Reardon, Thomas, 2011. "The global rise and impact of supermarkets: an international perspective," Conference Proceedings 2011 125312, Crawford Fund.
    20. Aktoty Aitzhanova & Shigeo Katsu & Johannes F. Linn & Vladislav Yezhov (ed.), 2014. "Kazakhstan 2050: Toward a Modern Society for All," Books, Emerging Markets Forum, edition 1, number kazakh2050, July-Dece.
    21. Rosella Nicolini, 2008. "Agglomeration and inequality across space: What can we learn from the European experience?," Working Papers wpdea0809, Department of Applied Economics at Universitat Autonoma of Barcelona.
    22. Laura Jaitman, 2015. "Urban infrastructure in Latin America and the Caribbean: public policy priorities," Latin American Economic Review, Springer;Centro de Investigaciòn y Docencia Económica (CIDE), vol. 24(1), pages 1-57, December.
    23. Belitski Maksim, 2011. "Driving Urban Economic Growth – Evidence from Transition Economies," EERC Working Paper Series 11/10e, EERC Research Network, Russia and CIS.
    24. Lian, Hongping & Lejano, Raul P., 2014. "Interpreting Institutional Fit: Urbanization, Development, and China’s “Land-Lost”," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 1-10.

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