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Diversity and specialisation in cities: why, where and when does it matter?

  • Gilles Duranton
  • Diego Puga

Why are some cities specialised and others diversified? What are the advantages and disadvantages of urban specialisation and diversity? To what extent does the structure of cities, and the activities of the firms and people in them, change over time? How does the sectoral composition of cities and influence their evolution? To answer these and related questions, we first distil some key stylised facts from the empirical literature on cities and the composition of their activities. We then turn ti a review of different theories looking ot such issues, and study the extent to which these theories contribute ti the understanding of the empirical regularities.

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Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library in its series LSE Research Online Documents on Economics with number 20212.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: Aug 1999
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:20212
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  1. Duncan Black & Vernon Henderson, 2003. "Urban evolution in the USA," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(4), pages 343-372, October.
  2. Gilles Duranton & Diego Puga, 2000. "Nursery Cities: Urban Diversity, Process Innovation and the Life-Cycle of Products," CEP Discussion Papers dp0445, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  3. Fujita, Masahisa, 1988. "A monopolistic competition model of spatial agglomeration : Differentiated product approach," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 87-124, February.
  4. Brezis, Elise S & Krugman, Paul R, 1997. " Technology and the Life Cycle of Cities," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 2(4), pages 369-83, December.
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  7. Timothy J. Bartik, 1996. "Strategies for Economic Development," Book chapters authored by Upjohn Institute researchers, in: J. Richard Aronson & Eli Schwartz (ed.), Management Policies in Local Government Finance, edition 4, pages 287-311 W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  8. Henderson, Vernon & Kuncoro, Ari & Turner, Matt, 1995. "Industrial Development in Cities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(5), pages 1067-90, October.
  9. 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.
  10. J. Vernon Henderson, 1994. "Externalities and Industrial Development," NBER Working Papers 4730, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  12. Henderson, J V, 1974. "The Sizes and Types of Cities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(4), pages 640-56, September.
  13. Eaton, B Curtis & Lipsey, Richard G, 1982. "An Economic Theory of Central Places," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(365), pages 56-72, March.
  14. Vernon Henderson, 1999. "Marshall's Economies," NBER Working Papers 7358, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Dunne, T. & Roberts, M.J. & Samuelson L., 1988. "Plant Turnover And Gross Employment Flows In The U.S. Manufacturing Sector," Papers 9-87-7, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  16. Linda Harris Dobkins & Yannis M. Ioannides, 1999. "Spatial Interactions Among U.S. Cities: 1900-1990," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 9913, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  17. Feldman, Maryann P. & Audretsch, David B., 1999. "Innovation in cities:: Science-based diversity, specialization and localized competition," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 409-429, February.
  18. Rivera-Batiz, Francisco L., 1988. "Increasing returns, monopolistic competition, and agglomeration economies in consumption and production," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 125-153, February.
  19. Jean-Pierre Delisle & Frédéric Laine, 1998. "Les transferts d'établissements contribuent au desserrement urbain," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 311(1), pages 91-106.
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  27. Abdel-Rahman, H. M., 1988. "Product differentiation, monopolistic competition and city size," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 69-86, February.
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  30. Miyao, Takahiro, 1987. "Dynamic urban models," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: E. S. Mills (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 22, pages 877-925 Elsevier.
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