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Entrepreneurship and Urban Growth: An Empirical Assessment with Historical Mines

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  • Edward L. Glaeser

    () (Harvard University)

  • Sari Pekkala Kerr

    () (Wellesley College)

  • William R. Kerr

    () (Harvard University)

Abstract

We study entrepreneurship and growth through the lens of U.S. cities. Initial entrepreneurship correlates strongly with urban employment growth, but endogeneity bedevils interpretation. Chinitz (1961) hypothesized that coal mines near cities led to specialization in industries, like steel, with significant scale economies and that those big firms subsequently damped entrepreneurship across several generations. Proximity to historical mining deposits is associated with reduced entrepreneurship for cities in the 1970s and onward in industries unrelated to mining. We use historical mines as an instrument for our modern entrepreneurship measures and find a persistent link between entrepreneurship and city employment growth. © 2015 The President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Suggested Citation

  • Edward L. Glaeser & Sari Pekkala Kerr & William R. Kerr, 2015. "Entrepreneurship and Urban Growth: An Empirical Assessment with Historical Mines," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 97(2), pages 498-520, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:97:y:2015:i:2:p:498-520
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    entrepreneurship; U.S. cities; urban employment; employment growth; endogeneity; scale economies; historical mining; 1970s; city employment;

    JEL classification:

    • J20 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - General
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J40 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - General
    • E00 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - General
    • E20 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)

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