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Cities in the Developing World

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Listed:
  • Gharad Bryan
  • Edward Glaeser
  • Nick Tsivanidis

Abstract

The fast and often chaotic urbanization of the developing world generates both economic opportunity and challenges, like contagious disease and congestion, because proximity increases both positive and negative externalities. In this paper, we review the expanding body of economic research on developing world cities. One strand of this literature emphasizes the economic benefits of urban connection, typically finding that agglomeration benefits are at least as high in poor countries as they are in rich countries. Yet there remains an ongoing debate about whether slums provide a path to prosperity or an economic dead end. A second strand analyzes the negative externalities associated with urban density, and the challenges of building and maintaining infrastructure to moderate those harms. Researchers are just beginning to understand the links between institutions (such as Public Private Partnerships), incentives (such as congestion pricing) and the effectiveness of urban infrastructure spending. A third line of research addresses the spatial structure of cities directly with formal, structural models. These structural models seem particularly valuable when analyzing land use and transportation systems in the far more fluid cities of the developing world.

Suggested Citation

  • Gharad Bryan & Edward Glaeser & Nick Tsivanidis, 2019. "Cities in the Developing World," NBER Working Papers 26390, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:26390
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes

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