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The Geography of the European Creative Class A Rank-Size Analysis

  • Mark Lorenzen
  • Kristina Vaarst Andersen
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    Using novel statistical data, the paper analyzes the geographical distribution of Richard Florida’s creative class among 445 European cities. The paper demonstrates that size matters, i.e. cities with a high proportion of creative class tend to get more creative through attraction of still more creative labor. More specifically, the distribution of the European creative class falls into three phases, each approximating a rank-size rule, with different exponents (i.e., inequality). The exponent for the smallest cities is profoundly more negative than for the middle-sized cities, and this tendency is stronger for the creative class than for the general population. Furthermore, the exponent of the largest cities is slightly less negative than the middle-sized cities, and this tendency is also stronger for the creative class. In order to explain this, the paper presents four propositions about how effects of large and small population sizes of cities may be more detrimental to attracting the creative class than attracting the population in general. Below a population size of approximately 70,000 inhabitants, there is a rapid drop of attractiveness to the creative class with decreasing city size. We propose that this may be because below this size, cities begin to drop below minimum efficient market sizes for particular creative services, below minimum labor market sizes for particular creative job types, and below minimum levels of political representation by the creative class. Above a European city population size of approximately 1,2 million inhabitants, the attractiveness of increasing city size for the creative class drops, and we propose that the creative class may respond particularly adversely to urban congestion.

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    File URL: http://www3.druid.dk/wp/20070017.pdf
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    Paper provided by DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies in its series DRUID Working Papers with number 07-17.

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    Date of creation: 2007
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    Handle: RePEc:aal:abbswp:07-17
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.druid.dk/

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    1. Richard Florida, 2002. "Bohemia and economic geography," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 2(1), pages 55-71, January.
    2. Rosen, Kenneth T. & Resnick, Mitchel, 1980. "The size distribution of cities: An examination of the Pareto law and primacy," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 165-186, September.
    3. Alberto F. Ades & Edward L. Glaeser, 1994. "Trade and Circuses: Explaining Urban Giants," NBER Working Papers 4715, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Hsin-Ping Chen, 2004. "Path-dependent processes and the emergence of the rank size rule," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer, vol. 38(3), pages 433-449, 09.
    5. Moomaw, Ronald L. & Shatter, Ali M., 1996. "Urbanization and Economic Development: A Bias toward Large Cities?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 13-37, July.
    6. Robert Axtell and Richard Florida, 2001. "Emergent Cities: A Microeconomic Explanation for Zipf's Law," Computing in Economics and Finance 2001 154, Society for Computational Economics.
    7. Jamie Peck, 2005. "Struggling with the Creative Class," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(4), pages 740-770, December.
    8. Vapnarsky, Cesar A, 1969. "On Rank-Size Distributions of Cities: An Ecological Approach," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(4), pages 584-95, July.
    9. I Thomas, 1985. "City-size distribution and the size of urban systems," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 17(7), pages 905-913, July.
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