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The plant size-place effect: agglomeration and monopsony in labour markets

Listed author(s):
  • Alan Manning

This paper shows, using data from both the US and the UK, that average plant size is larger in denser markets. However, many popular theories of agglomeration – spillovers, cost advantages and improved match quality – predict that establishments should be smaller in cities. The paper proposes a theory based on monopsony in labour markets that can explain the stylized fact – that firms in all labour markets have some market power but that they have less market power in cities. It also presents evidence that the labour supply curve to individual firms is more elastic in larger markets.

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File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/19765/
File Function: Open access version.
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library in its series LSE Research Online Documents on Economics with number 19765.

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Length: 51 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2007
Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:19765
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  1. Ciccone, Antonio & Hall, Robert E, 1996. "Productivity and the Density of Economic Activity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 54-70, March.
  2. L. Rachel Ngai & Roberto M. Samaniego, 2006. "An R&D-Based Model of Multi-Sector Growth," CEP Discussion Papers dp0762, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  3. Thomas J. Holmes & John J. Stevens, 2004. "Geographic concentration and establishment size: analysis in an alternative economic geography model," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(3), pages 227-250, June.
  4. Amiti, Mary & Pissarides, Christopher A., 2005. "Trade and industrial location with heterogeneous labor," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 392-412, December.
  5. Thomas J. Holmes, 2005. "The Location of Sales Offices and the Attraction of Cities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(3), pages 551-581, June.
  6. Wheeler, Christopher H., 2006. "Productivity and the geographic concentration of industry: The role of plant scale," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 313-330, May.
  7. Krugman, Paul, 1991. "Increasing Returns and Economic Geography," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(3), pages 483-499, June.
  8. Helsley, Robert W. & Strange, William C., 1990. "Matching and agglomeration economies in a system of cities," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 189-212, September.
  9. Chad Syverson, 2004. "Market Structure and Productivity: A Concrete Example," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(6), pages 1181-1222, December.
  10. Combes, Pierre-Philippe & Duranton, Gilles & Gobillon, Laurent, 2008. "Spatial wage disparities: Sorting matters!," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 723-742, March.
  11. Enrico Moretti, 2004. "Workers' Education, Spillovers, and Productivity: Evidence from Plant-Level Production Functions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 656-690, June.
  12. Andrew B. Bernard & Stephen J. Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2011. "Multiproduct Firms and Trade Liberalization," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(3), pages 1271-1318.
  13. Ellison, Glenn & Glaeser, Edward L, 1997. "Geographic Concentration in U.S. Manufacturing Industries: A Dartboard Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(5), pages 889-927, October.
  14. Dinlersoz, Emin M., 2004. "Cities and the organization of manufacturing," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 71-100, January.
  15. Bresnahan, Timothy F & Reiss, Peter C, 1991. "Entry and Competition in Concentrated Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(5), pages 977-1009, October.
  16. Paul Krugman, 1998. "Space: The Final Frontier," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 161-174, Spring.
  17. Thomas J. Holmes & John J. Stevens, 2002. "Geographic Concentration and Establishment Scale," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(4), pages 682-690, November.
  18. Glaeser, Edward L & Mare, David C, 2001. "Cities and Skills," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(2), pages 316-342, April.
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