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Spatial Relocation with Heterogeneous Firms and Heterogeneous Sectors

  • OKUBO Toshihiro
  • Rikard FORSLID

The present paper focuses on sorting as a mechanism behind the well-established fact that there is a central region productivity premium. Using a model of heterogeneous firms that can move between regions, Baldwin and Okubo (2006) show how more productive firms sort themselves to the large core region. We extend this model by introducing different capital intensities among firms and sectors. In accordance with empirical evidence, more productive firms are assumed to be more capital intensive. As a result, our model can produce sorting to the large regions from both ends of the productivity distribution. Firms with high capital intensity and high productivity, as well as firms with very low productivity and low capital intensity, tend to relocate to the core. We use region and sector productivity distributions from Japanese micro data to test the predictions of the model. Several sectors show patterns consistent with two-sided sorting, and roughly an equal number of sectors seem to primarily be driven by sorting and selection. We also find supportive evidence for our model prediction that two-sided sorting occurs in sectors with high capital intensity.

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Paper provided by Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI) in its series Discussion papers with number 10056.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:eti:dpaper:10056
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  1. Toshihiro Okubo & Pierre M. Picard & Jacques-François Thisse, 2008. "The spatial selection of heterogeneous firms," CREA Discussion Paper Series 08-16, Center for Research in Economic Analysis, University of Luxembourg.
  2. Martin, Philippe & Rogers, Carol Ann, 1994. "Industrial Location and Public Infrastructure," CEPR Discussion Papers 909, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Toshihiro Okubo & Eiichi Tomiura, 2011. "Productivity distribution, firm heterogeneity, and agglomeration: Evidence from firm-level data," Discussion Paper Series DP2011-06, Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration, Kobe University.
  4. Massimo Del Gatto & Gianmarco I. P. Ottaviano & Marcello Pagnini, 2008. "Openness To Trade And Industry Cost Dispersion: Evidence From A Panel Of Italian Firms," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(1), pages 97-129.
  5. Pierre-Philippe Combes & Gilles Duranton & Diego Puga & Sebastien Roux, 2009. "The productivity advantages of large cities: Distinguishing agglomeration from firm selection," Working Papers tecipa-353, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  6. Gianmarco Ottaviano & Takatoshi Tabuchi & Jacques-FranÁois Thisse, 2002. "Agglomeration and Trade Revisited," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 43(2), pages 409-436, May.
  7. Richard E. Baldwin & Toshihiro Okubo, 2006. "Heterogeneous firms, agglomeration and economic geography: spatial selection and sorting," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(3), pages 323-346, June.
  8. Melo, Patricia C. & Graham, Daniel J. & Noland, Robert B., 2009. "A meta-analysis of estimates of urban agglomeration economies," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 332-342, May.
  9. Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1977. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 297-308, June.
  10. Ottaviano, Gianmarco & Melitz, Marc, 2008. "Market Size, Trade, and Productivity," Scholarly Articles 3229096, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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