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Did the Death of Distance Hurt Detroit and Help New York?

  • Edward L. Glaeser
  • Giacomo A.M. Ponzetto

Urban proximity can reduce the costs of shipping goods and speed the flow of ideas. Improvements in communication technology might erode these advantages and allow people and firms to decentralize. However, improvements in transportation and communication technology can also increase the returns to new ideas, by allowing those ideas to be used throughout the world. This paper presents a model that illustrates these two rival effects that technological progress can have on cities. We then present some evidence suggesting that the model can help us to understand why the past thirty-five years have been kind to idea-producing places, like New York and Boston, and devastating to goods-producing cities, like Cleveland and Detroit.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w13710.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13710.

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Date of creation: Dec 2007
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Publication status: published as Did the Death of Distance Hurt Detroit and Help New York? , Edward L. Glaeser, Giacomo A. M. Ponzetto. in Agglomeration Economics , Glaeser. 2010
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13710
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  1. Edward L. Glaeser & Janet E. Kohlhase, 2003. "Cities, Regions and the Decline of Transport Costs," NBER Working Papers 9886, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. J. Vernon Henderson & Yukako Ono, 2005. "Where Do Manufacturing Firms Locate Their Headquarters?," Working Papers 05-17, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  3. Edward L. Glaeser & Albert Saiz, 2003. "The Rise of the Skilled City," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2025, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  4. James E. Rauch, 1991. "Productivity Gains From Geographic Concentration of human Capital: Evidence From the Cities," NBER Working Papers 3905, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Fujita, Masahisa & Thisse, Jacques-François, 2002. "Does Geographical Agglomeration Foster Economic Growth? And Who Gains and Looses From It?," CEPR Discussion Papers 3135, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Kim, Sukkoo, 1999. "The Rise of Multiunit Firms in U.S. Manufacturing," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 360-386, October.
  7. Duranton, Gilles & Puga, Diego, 2005. "From sectoral to functional urban specialisation," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 343-370, March.
  8. Paul M Romer, 1999. "Endogenous Technological Change," Levine's Working Paper Archive 2135, David K. Levine.
  9. Ethier, Wilfred J, 1982. "National and International Returns to Scale in the Modern Theory of International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 389-405, June.
  10. James R. Markusen, 1995. "The Boundaries of Multinational Enterprises and the Theory of International Trade," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 169-189, Spring.
  11. Yeaple, Stephen & Helpman, Elhanan & Melitz, Marc, 2004. "Export versus FDI with Heterogeneous Firms," Scholarly Articles 3229098, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  12. Christopher R. Berry & Edward L. Glaeser, 2005. "The divergence of human capital levels across cities," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 84(3), pages 407-444, 08.
  13. Christopher R. Berry & Edward L. Glaeser, 2005. "The Divergence of Human Capital Levels Across Cities," NBER Working Papers 11617, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Berry, Christopher R. & Glaeser, Edward L., 2005. "Divergence of Human Capital Levels across Cities," Working Paper Series rwp05-057, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  15. Christopher R. Berry & Edward L. Glaeser, 2005. "The Divergence of Human Capital Levels across Cities," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2091, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
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