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Cities, Matching and the Productivity Gains of Agglomeration

  • Fredrik Andersson
  • Simon Burgess
  • Julia Lane

The striking geographical concentration of economic activities suggests that there are substantial benefits toagglomeration. However, the nature of those benefits remains unclear. In this paper we take advantage of a newdataset to quantify the role of one of the main contenders - the matching of workers and jobs. Using individuallevel data for two large US states we show that thicker urban labour markets are associated with moreassortative matching between workers and firms. Another critical condition is required for this to generatehigher productivity: complementarity of worker and firm quality in the production function. Usingestablishment level productivity regressions, we show that such complementarity is found in our data. Puttingtogether the production and matching relationships, we show that production complementarity and assortativematching is an important source of the urban productivity premium.

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Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp0648.

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Date of creation: Sep 2004
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0648
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEP

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  1. B Petrongolo & Christopher Pissarides, 2003. "Scale effects in markets with search," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 2248, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  2. Abowd, J.M. & Kramarz, F. & Margolis, D.N., 1995. "High-Wage Workers and High-Wage Firms," Cahiers de recherche 9503, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
  3. Robert Shimer & Lones Smith, 2000. "Assortative Matching and Search," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(2), pages 343-370, March.
  4. Enrico Moretti, 2003. "Human Capital Externalities in Cities," NBER Working Papers 9641, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Duranton, Gilles & Puga, Diego, 2003. "Microfoundations of Urban Agglomeration Economies," CEPR Discussion Papers 4062, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Michael Kremer & Eric Maskin, 1996. "Wage Inequality and Segregation," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1777, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  7. Benabou, Roland, 1993. "Workings of a City: Location, Education, and Production," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(3), pages 619-52, August.
  8. Fredrik Andersson & Harry J. Holzer & Julia I. Lane, 2002. "The interactions of workers and firms in the low-wage labor market," Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics Technical Papers 2002-12, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  9. Kremer, M & Maskin, E, 1996. "Wage Inequality and Segregation by Skill," Working papers 96-23, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  10. Wheeler, Christopher H, 2001. "Search, Sorting, and Urban Agglomeration," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(4), pages 879-99, October.
  11. Julia I. Lane & John C. Haltiwanger & James Spletzer, 1999. "Productivity Differences across Employers: The Roles of Employer Size, Age, and Human Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 94-98, May.
  12. Pieter A. Gautier & Coen N. Teulings, 2003. "An Empirical Index for Labor Market Density," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 901-908, November.
  13. Burdett, Kenneth & Coles, Melvyn G, 1999. "Long-Term Partnership Formation: Marriage and Employment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(456), pages F307-34, June.
  14. John Haltiwanger & C J Krizan & Lucia Foster, 1998. "Aggregate Productivity Growth: Lessons From Microeconomic Evidence," Working Papers 98-12, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  15. Becker, Gary S, 1973. "A Theory of Marriage: Part I," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(4), pages 813-46, July-Aug..
  16. Rosenthal, Stuart S. & Strange, William C., 2004. "Evidence on the nature and sources of agglomeration economies," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: J. V. Henderson & J. F. Thisse (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 49, pages 2119-2171 Elsevier.
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