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Spatial evolution of the US urban system

Listed author(s):
  • Ioannides, Yannis
  • Overman, Henry G.

We examine spatial features of the evolution of the US urban system usingUS Census data for 1900 – 1990 with non-parametric kernel estimation techniques that accommodate the complexity of the urban system. We consider spatial features of the location of cities and city outcomes in terms of population and wages. Our results suggest a number of interesting puzzles. In particular, we find that city location is essentially a random process and that interactions between cities do not help determine the size of a city. Both of these findings contradict our theoretical priors about the role of geography (physical and economic) in determining city outcomes. More detailed study suggests some solutions that allow us to restore a role for geography but a number of puzzles remain.

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File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/600/
File Function: Open access version.
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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 600.

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Date of creation: Apr 2004
Publication status: Published in Journal of Economic Geography, April, 2004, 4(2), pp. 131-156. ISSN: 1468-2710
Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:600
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  1. Overman, Henry G. & Ioannides, Yannis M., 2001. "Cross-Sectional Evolution of the U.S. City Size Distribution," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 543-566, May.
  2. Eaton, Jonathan & Eckstein, Zvi, 1997. "Cities and growth: Theory and evidence from France and Japan," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(4-5), pages 443-474, August.
  3. H. Hanson, Gordon, 2005. "Market potential, increasing returns and geographic concentration," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 1-24, September.
  4. Harris Dobkins, Linda & Ioannides, Yannis M., 2001. "Spatial interactions among U.S. cities: 1900-1990," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 701-731, November.
  5. Quah, Danny T., 1996. "Regional convergence clusters across Europe," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-5), pages 951-958, April.
  6. Krugman, Paul, 1996. "Confronting the Mystery of Urban Hierarchy," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 399-418, December.
  7. 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.
  8. Krugman, Paul, 1991. "Increasing Returns and Economic Geography," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(3), pages 483-499, June.
  9. Quah, Danny, 1993. "Empirical cross-section dynamics in economic growth," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(2-3), pages 426-434, April.
  10. Ioannides, Yannis M. & Overman, Henry G., 2003. "Zipf's law for cities: an empirical examination," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 127-137, March.
  11. Fujita, Masahisa & Mori, Tomoya, 1997. "Structural stability and evolution of urban systems," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(4-5), pages 399-442, August.
  12. Paul R. Krugman, 1991. "First Nature, Second Nature, and Metropolitan Location," NBER Working Papers 3740, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Fujita, Masahisa & Mori, Tomoya, 1996. "The role of ports in the making of major cities: Self-agglomeration and hub-effect," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 93-120, April.
  14. Quah, Danny, 1996. "Regional Convergence Clusters Across Europe," CEPR Discussion Papers 1286, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Quah, Danny, 1997. "Empirics for Growth and Distribution: Stratification, Polarization, and Convergence Clubs," CEPR Discussion Papers 1586, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. Quah, Danny T., 1996. "Empirics for economic growth and convergence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(6), pages 1353-1375, June.
  17. Tabuchi, Takatoshi, 1998. "Urban Agglomeration and Dispersion: A Synthesis of Alonso and Krugman," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 333-351, November.
  18. Fujita, Masahisa & Krugman, Paul & Mori, Tomoya, 1999. "On the evolution of hierarchical urban systems1," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 209-251, February.
  19. Sukkoo Kim, 1997. "Economic Integration and Convergence: U.S. Regions, 1840-1987," NBER Working Papers 6335, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Costas Megir & Danny Quah, 1996. "Regional Convergence Clusters Across Europe," CEP Discussion Papers dp0274, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  21. Quah, Danny T, 1997. "Empirics for Growth and Distribution: Stratification, Polarization, and Convergence Clubs," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 27-59, March.
  22. Manuel Arellano & Stephen Bond, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(2), pages 277-297.
  23. Xavier Gabaix, 1999. "Zipf's Law for Cities: An Explanation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 739-767.
  24. Paul Krugman, 1992. "A Dynamic Spatial Model," NBER Working Papers 4219, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Henderson, J. Vernon, 1991. "Urban Development: Theory, Fact, and Illusion," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195069020.
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