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Did the Death of Distance Hurt Detroit and Help New York?

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  • Glaeser, Edward L.

    (Harvard U)

  • Ponzeto, Giacomo A. M.

Abstract

Urban proximity can reduce the costs of shipping goods and speed the flow of ideas. Improvements in communication technology might erode these advantages and allow people and firms to decentralize. However, improvements in transportation and communication technology can also increase the returns to new ideas, by allowing those ideas to be used throughout the world. This paper presents a model that illustrates these two rival effects that technological progress can have on cities. We then present some evidence suggesting that the model can help us to understand why the past thirty-five years have been kind to idea-producing places, like New York and Boston, and devastating to goods-producing cities, like Cleveland and Detroit.

Suggested Citation

  • Glaeser, Edward L. & Ponzeto, Giacomo A. M., 2008. "Did the Death of Distance Hurt Detroit and Help New York?," Working Paper Series rwp08-002, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecl:harjfk:rwp08-002
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Berry, Christopher R. & Glaeser, Edward L., 2005. "Divergence of Human Capital Levels across Cities," Working Paper Series rwp05-057, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    2. Elhanan Helpman & Marc J. Melitz & Stephen R. Yeaple, 2003. "Export versus FDI," NBER Working Papers 9439, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Edward Glaeser & Janet Kohlhase, 2003. "Cities, regions and the decline of transport costs," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 83(1), pages 197-228, October.
    4. Rauch James E., 1993. "Productivity Gains from Geographic Concentration of Human Capital: Evidence from the Cities," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 380-400, November.
    5. Henderson, J. Vernon & Ono, Yukako, 2008. "Where do manufacturing firms locate their headquarters?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 431-450, March.
    6. Elhanan Helpman & Marc J. Melitz & Stephen R. Yeaple, 2004. "Export Versus FDI with Heterogeneous Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 300-316, March.
    7. Duranton, Gilles & Puga, Diego, 2005. "From sectoral to functional urban specialisation," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 343-370, March.
    8. Edward L. Glaeser & Albert Saiz, 2003. "The rise of the skilled city," Working Papers 04-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    9. James R. Markusen, 1995. "The Boundaries of Multinational Enterprises and the Theory of International Trade," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 169-189, Spring.
    10. Christopher R. Berry & Edward L. Glaeser, 2005. "The divergence of human capital levels across cities," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 84(3), pages 407-444, August.
    11. Christopher R. Berry & Edward L. Glaeser, 2005. "The Divergence of Human Capital Levels across Cities," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2091, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    12. Ethier, Wilfred J, 1982. "National and International Returns to Scale in the Modern Theory of International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 389-405, June.
    13. Christopher R. Berry & Edward L. Glaeser, 2005. "The Divergence of Human Capital Levels Across Cities," NBER Working Papers 11617, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kurt A. Hafner, 2013. "Agglomeration economies and clustering -- evidence from German and European firms," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(20), pages 2938-2953, July.
    2. Miria Pigato, 2009. "Strengthening China's and India's Trade and Investment Ties to the Middle East and North Africa," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2626, April.

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