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Urban Productivity in the Developing World

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  • Edward L. Glaeser
  • Wentao Xiong

Abstract

Africa is urbanizing rapidly, and this creates both opportunities and challenges. Labor productivity appears to be much higher in developing-world cities than in rural areas, and historically urbanization is strongly correlated with economic growth. Education seems to be a strong complement to urbanization, and entrepreneurial human capital correlates strongly with urban success. Immigrants provide a natural source of entrepreneurship, both in the U.S. and in Africa, which suggests that making African cities more livable can generate economic benefits by attracting talent. Reducing the negative externalities of urban life requires a combination of infrastructure, incentives, and institutions. Appropriate institutions can mean independent public authorities, public-private partnerships, and non-profit entities depending on the setting.

Suggested Citation

  • Edward L. Glaeser & Wentao Xiong, 2017. "Urban Productivity in the Developing World," NBER Working Papers 23279, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23279
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Nava Ashraf & Edward L. Glaeser & Giacomo A. M. Ponzetto, 2016. "Infrastructure, Incentives, and Institutions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(5), pages 77-82, May.
    2. Gilles Duranton & Matthew A. Turner, 2011. "The Fundamental Law of Road Congestion: Evidence from US Cities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(6), pages 2616-2652, October.
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    4. Douglas Gollin & Remi Jedwab & Dietrich Vollrath, 2016. "Urbanization with and without industrialization," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 21(1), pages 35-70, March.
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    23. repec:hrv:faseco:30727607 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Morgane De Halleux & Antonio Estache, 2018. "How “smart” are Latin American cities?," Working Papers ECARES 2018-05, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    2. repec:oup:oxford:v:33:y:2017:i:3:p:355-372. is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship
    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • R00 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General - - - General

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