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Bones, bombs and break points: The geography of economic activity

  • Donald R. Davis

    ()

    (Columbia University - Department of Economics)

  • David E. Weinstein

    ()

    (Columbia University - Department of Economics)

We consider the distribution of economic activity within a country in light of three leading theories - increasing returns, random growth, and locational fundamentals. To do so, we examine the distribution of regional population in Japan from the Stone Age to the modern era. We also consider the Allied bombing of Japanese cities in WWII as a shock to relative city sizes. Our results support a hybrid theory in which locational fundamentals establish the spatial pattern of relative regional densities, but increasing returns may help to determine the degree of spatial differentiation. One implication of these results is that even large temporary shocks to urban areas have no long-run impact on city size.

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File URL: http://www.econ.columbia.edu/RePEc/pdf/DP0102-02.pdf
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Paper provided by Columbia University, Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 0102-02.

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Length: 47 pages
Date of creation: 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:clu:wpaper:0102-02
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  1. Gallup, J.L. & Sachs, J.D. & Mullinger, A., 1999. "Geography and Economic Development," Papers 1, Chicago - Graduate School of Business.
  2. J.Peter Neary, 2001. "Of Hype and Hyperbolas: Introducing the New Economic Geography," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(2), pages 536-561, June.
  3. Krugman, Paul, 1991. "History versus Expectations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(2), pages 651-67, May.
  4. Fujita, Masahisa & Thisse, Jacques-François, 1996. "Economics of Agglomeration," CEPR Discussion Papers 1344, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Krugman, Paul, 1998. "What's New about the New Economic Geography?," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(2), pages 7-17, Summer.
  6. Paul A.David, 2005. "Path dependence, its critics and the quest for ‘historical economics’," Economic History 0502003, EconWPA.
  7. Krugman, Paul, 1996. "Confronting the Mystery of Urban Hierarchy," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 399-418, December.
  8. Jonathan Eaton & Zvi Eckstein, 1994. "Cities and Growth: Theory and Evidence from France and Japan," NBER Working Papers 4612, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Fujita, Masahisa & Mori, Tomoya, 1996. "The role of ports in the making of major cities: Self-agglomeration and hub-effect," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 93-120, April.
  10. J.V. Henderson, 1972. "The Sizes and Types of Cities," Working Papers 75, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  11. Jordan Rappaport & Jeffrey D. Sachs, 2001. "The U.S. as a coastal nation," Research Working Paper RWP 01-11, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  12. Xavier Gabaix, 1999. "Zipf'S Law For Cities: An Explanation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 739-767, August.
  13. 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.
  14. John Luke Gallup & Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew D. Mellinger, 1999. "Geography and Economic Development," International Regional Science Review, , vol. 22(2), pages 179-232, August.
  15. John Luke Gallup & Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew Mellinger, 1999. "Geography and Economic Development," CID Working Papers 1, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
  16. Krugman, Paul, 1991. "Increasing Returns and Economic Geography," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(3), pages 483-99, June.
  17. Jeffrey D. Sachs, 2001. "Tropical Underdevelopment," NBER Working Papers 8119, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:

  1. Bones, Bombs, and Break Points: The Geography of Economic Activity (AER 2002) in ReplicationWiki
  2. Talk:Development economics in Wikipedia English ne '')
  3. Historical Economic Geography

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