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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Storper & Anthony J. Venables, 2003. "Buzz: Face-to-Face Contact and the Urban Economy," CEP Discussion Papers dp0598, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0598
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Agglomeration; clustering; urban economics; face-to-face;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

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

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    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

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