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Urban Colossus: Why is New York America's Largest City?

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  • Edward L. Glaeser

Abstract

New York has been remarkably successful relative to any other large city outside of the sunbelt and it remains the nation's premier metropolis. What accounts for New York's rise and continuing success? The rise of New York in the early nineteenth century is the result of technological changes that moved ocean shipping from a point-to-point system to a hub and spoke system; New York's geography made it the natural hub of this system. Manufacturing then centered in New York because the hub of a transport system is, in many cases, the ideal place to transform raw materials into finished goods. This initial dominance was entrenched by New York's role as the hub for immigration. In the late 20th century, New York's survival is based almost entirely on finance and business services, which are also legacies of the port. In this period, New York's role as a hub still matters, but it is far less important than the edge that density and agglomeration give to the acquisition of knowledge.

Suggested Citation

  • Edward L. Glaeser, 2005. "Urban Colossus: Why is New York America's Largest City?," NBER Working Papers 11398, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11398
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gaspar, Jess & Glaeser, Edward L., 1998. "Information Technology and the Future of Cities," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 136-156, January.
    2. Edward Glaeser & Janet Kohlhase, 2003. "Cities, regions and the decline of transport costs," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 83(1), pages 197-228, October.
    3. Krugman, Paul, 1991. "Increasing Returns and Economic Geography," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(3), pages 483-499, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jordan Adamson, 2018. "Agglomeration and the Extent of the Market: An Experimental Investigation into Spatially Coordinated Exchange," Working Papers 18-12, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
    2. Owyang, Michael T. & Piger, Jeremy M. & Wall, Howard J. & Wheeler, Christopher H., 2008. "The economic performance of cities: A Markov-switching approach," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(3), pages 538-550, November.
    3. World Bank, 2007. "Brazil - São Paulo : Inputs for a Sustainable Competitive City Strategy, Volume 2. Background Report," World Bank Other Operational Studies 7986, The World Bank.
    4. Becker, Bo, 2006. "City Size and Financial Development," SIFR Research Report Series 46, Institute for Financial Research.
    5. Bailey, Michael & Farrell, Patrick & Kuchler, Theresa & Stroebel, Johannes, 2020. "Social connectedness in urban areas," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 118(C).
    6. Benjamin Brishman, 2010. "The Rise of Vertical Specialization Trade," BEA Working Papers 0051, Bureau of Economic Analysis.
    7. Goerlich Gisbert, Francisco J. & Cantarino Marti, Isidro, 2014. "El concepto europeo de ciudad: una aplicación para España," INVESTIGACIONES REGIONALES - Journal of REGIONAL RESEARCH, Asociación Española de Ciencia Regional, issue 30, pages 145-156.
    8. Edward L. Glaeser & Matthew G. Resseger, 2010. "The Complementarity Between Cities And Skills," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(1), pages 221-244, February.
    9. Masagus M. Ridhwan & Henri L.F. de Groot & Piet Rietveld & Peter Nijkamp, 2012. "Regional Interest Rate Variations: Evidence from the Indonesian Credit Markets," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 12-073/3, Tinbergen Institute.
    10. Michael Amior & Alan Manning, 2018. "The Persistence of Local Joblessness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 108(7), pages 1942-1970, July.
    11. Winifred Curran, 2010. "In Defense of Old Industrial Spaces: Manufacturing, Creativity and Innovation in Williamsburg, Brooklyn," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(4), pages 871-885, December.
    12. Tom Nicholas & Anna Scherbina, 2013. "Real Estate Prices During the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 41(2), pages 278-309, June.
    13. Vigdor, Jacob L., 2010. "Is urban decay bad? Is urban revitalization bad too?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(3), pages 277-289, November.
    14. Long, Fenjie & Zheng, Longfei & Song, Zhida, 2018. "High-speed rail and urban expansion: An empirical study using a time series of nighttime light satellite data in China," Journal of Transport Geography, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 106-118.
    15. Bridgman, Benjamin, 2012. "The rise of vertical specialization trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 133-140.
    16. Ridhwan, M.M. & Nijkamp, P. & Rietveld, P., 2008. "Regional development and monetary policy : a review of the role of monetary unions, capital mobility and locational effects," Serie Research Memoranda 0007, VU University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics, Business Administration and Econometrics.
    17. Zeng, Lijun & Wang, Jinfeng & Zhang, Jinshuo & Lv, Jun & Cui, Wei, 2020. "New Urbanization paths in mineral resource abundant regions in China: A three-dimensional cube framework," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 68(C).

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    • N0 - Economic History - - General

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