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How polycentric is a monocentric city?: centers, spillovers and hysteresis

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  • Ahlfeldt, Gabriel M.
  • Wendland, Nicolai

Abstract

We assess the extent to which firms in an environment of decreasing transport costs and industrial transformation value the benefits of proximity to a historic CBD and agglomeration economies in their location decisions. Taking a hybrid perspective of classical bid-rent theory and a world where clustering of economic activity is driven by between-firm spillovers, Berlin, Germany, from 1890 to 1936 serves as a case in point. Our results suggest that the average productivity effect of a doubling of between- firm spillovers over the study period increases from 3.5% to 8.3%. As the city transforms into a service-based economy, several micro agglomerations emerge. Their locations close to the CBD still make the city look roughly monocentric. This is in line with a hysteresis effect in which second-nature geography drives the ongoing strength of a historic city center even though the importance of the originally relevant first-nature geography has vanished.

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  • Ahlfeldt, Gabriel M. & Wendland, Nicolai, 2013. "How polycentric is a monocentric city?: centers, spillovers and hysteresis," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 44318, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:44318
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    Cited by:

    1. Waights, Sevrin, 2018. "Does the law of one price hold for hedonic prices?," EconStor Open Access Articles, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 3299-3317.
    2. Ahfeldt, Gabriel M. & Pietrostefani, Elisabetta, 2017. "The compact city in empirical research: A quantitative literature review," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 83638, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    3. Ahlfeldt, Gabriel M. & Pietrostefani, Elisabetta, 2019. "The economic effects of density: A synthesis," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 93-107.
    4. Gabriel M. Ahlfeldt & Kristoffer Moeller & Nicolai Wendland, 2015. "Chicken or egg? The PVAR econometrics of transportation," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(6), pages 1169-1193.
    5. Jayson Danton & Alexander Himbert, 2017. "Residential Vertical Rent Gradients in the City," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'économie 17.11, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, Département d’économie.
    6. Ahlfeldt, Gabriel M. & Pietrostefani, Elisabetta, 2019. "The economic effects of density: A synthesis," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 93-107.
    7. Gabriel M. Ahfeldt & Elisabetta Pietrostefani, 2017. "The Compact City in Empirical Research: A Quantitative Literature Review," SERC Discussion Papers 0215, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
    8. Cuberes, David & Roberts, Jennifer & Sechel, Cristina, 2019. "Household location in English cities," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 120-135.
    9. Nicolai Wendland, 2015. "All access: a micro-level case study on the secondary center of Berlin (1871–1936)," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 54(2), pages 375-399, March.
    10. Hang Ren & Wei Guo & Zhenke Zhang & Leonard Musyoka Kisovi & Priyanko Das, 2020. "Population Density and Spatial Patterns of Informal Settlements in Nairobi, Kenya," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(18), pages 1-14, September.
    11. Konstantin Axenov & Alisa Timoshina & Alexandra Zemlyanova, 2020. "Commercial redevelopment of industrial and residential periphery of Russian metropolis: St. Petersburg, 1989–2017," Regional Science Policy & Practice, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(4), pages 705-722, August.
    12. Jordan Rappaport, 2014. "Monocentric city redux," Research Working Paper RWP 14-9, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    transport innovations; land values; location productivity; agglomeration economies; economic history; Berlin;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • N7 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services
    • N9 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • R33 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Nonagricultural and Nonresidential Real Estate Markets

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