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The Productivity Advantages of Large Cities : Distinguishing Agglomeration from Firm Selection

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  • Pierre-Philippe COMBES

    (Crest)

  • Gilles DURANTON

    (Crest)

  • Laurent GOBILLON

    (Crest)

  • Diego PUGA

    (Crest)

  • Sébastien ROUX

    (Crest)

Abstract

Firms are more productive on average in larger cities. Two explanations have been offered:agglomeration economies (larger cities promote interactions that increase productivity) and firmselection (larger cities toughen competition allowing only the most productive to survive). Todistinguish between them, we nest a generalised version of a seminal firm selection model and astandard model of agglomeration. Stronger selection in larger cities left-truncates the productivitydistribution whereas stronger agglomeration right-shifts and dilates the distribution. We assess therelative importance of agglomeration and firm selection using French establishment-level dataand a new quantile approach. Spatial productivity differences in France are mostly explained byagglomeration.

Suggested Citation

  • Pierre-Philippe COMBES & Gilles DURANTON & Laurent GOBILLON & Diego PUGA & Sébastien ROUX, 2009. "The Productivity Advantages of Large Cities : Distinguishing Agglomeration from Firm Selection," Working Papers 2009-08, Center for Research in Economics and Statistics.
  • Handle: RePEc:crs:wpaper:2009-08
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    JEL classification:

    • C52 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Model Evaluation, Validation, and Selection
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)
    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity

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