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Firm Fragmentation and Urban Patterns

  • Esteban Rossi-Hansberg
  • Pierre-Daniel Sarte
  • Raymond Owens III

We document several empirical regularities regarding the evolution of urban structure in the largest U.S. metropolitan areas over the period 1980-1990. These regularities relate to changes in resident population, employment, occupations, as well as the number and size of establishments in different sections of the metropolitan area. We then propose a theory of urban structure that emphasizes the location and internal structure decisions of firms. In particular, firms can decide to locate their headquarters and operation plants in different regions of the city. Given that cities experienced positive population growth throughout the 1980s, we show that firm fragmentation produces the diverse set of facts documented in the paper.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w11839.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 11839.

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Date of creation: Dec 2005
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Publication status: published as Esteban Rossi-Hansberg & Pierre-Daniel Sarte & Raymond Owens iii, 2009. "Firm Fragmentation And Urban Patterns," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 50(1), pages 143-186, 02.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11839
Note: EFG
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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  1. Chatterjee, Satyajit & Carlino, Gerald A., 2001. "Aggregate metropolitan employment growth and the deconcentration of metropolitan employment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 549-583, December.
  2. Gilles Duranton & Diego Puga, 2001. "From sectoral to functional urban specialisation," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20101, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  3. Edward L. Glaeser & Matthew E. Kahn, 2003. "Sprawl and Urban Growth," NBER Working Papers 9733, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Edward L. Glaeser & Joseph Gyourko, 2001. "Urban Decline and Durable Housing," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1931, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  5. Rosenthal, Stuart S. & Strange, William C., 2004. "Evidence on the nature and sources of agglomeration economies," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: J. V. Henderson & J. F. Thisse (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 49, pages 2119-2171 Elsevier.
  6. J. Vernon Henderson & Yukako Ono, 2004. "Where do manufacturing firms locate their headquarters?," Working Paper Series WP-04-29, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  7. Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2004. "Optimal Urban Land Use and Zoning," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 7(1), pages 69-106, January.
  8. Chun-Chung Au & Vernon Henderson, 2002. "How Migration Restrictions Limit Agglomeration and Productivity in China," NBER Working Papers 8707, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Alex Anas & Richard Arnott & Kenneth A. Small, 1998. "Urban Spatial Structure," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(3), pages 1426-1464, September.
  10. Luis Garicano & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2006. "Organization and Inequality in a Knowledge Economy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(4), pages 1383-1435, November.
  11. Davis, James C. & Henderson, J. Vernon, 2008. "The agglomeration of headquarters," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(5), pages 445-460, September.
  12. Robert E. Lucas & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2002. "On the Internal Structure of Cities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(4), pages 1445-1476, July.
  13. Luis Garicano, 2000. "Hierarchies and the Organization of Knowledge in Production," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(5), pages 874-904, October.
  14. Henderson, J. Vernon, 2005. "Urbanization and Growth," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 24, pages 1543-1591 Elsevier.
  15. Duncan Black & Vernon Henderson, 1997. "Urban Growth," NBER Working Papers 6008, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Kim, Sukkoo, 1999. "The Rise of Multiunit Firms in U.S. Manufacturing," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 360-386, October.
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