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Marshall's Scale Economies

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  • Vernon Henderson

Abstract

In this paper, using panel data, I estimate plant level production functions that include variables that allow for two types of scale externalities which plants experie nce in their local industrial environments. First are externalities from other plants in the same industry locally, usually called localization economies or, in a dynamic context, Marshall, Arrow, Romer [MAR] economies. Second are externalities from the scale or diversity of local economic activity outside the own industry involving some type of cross- fertilization, usually called urbanization economies or, in a dynamic context, Jacobs economies. Estimating production functions for plants in high tech industries and in capital goods, or machinery industries, I find that local own industry scale externalities, as measured specifically by the count of other own industry plants locally, have strong productivity effects in high tech but not machinery industries. I find evidence that single plant firms both benefit more from and generate greater external benefits than corporate plants. On timing, I find evidence that high tech single plant firms benefit from the scale of past own industry activity, as well as current activity. I find no evidence of urbanization economies from the diversity of local economic activity outside the own industry and limited evidence of urbanization economies from the overall scale of local economic activity.

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  • Vernon Henderson, 2001. "Marshall's Scale Economies," Working Papers 01-17, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:01-17
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