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Urban Development in the United States, 1690-1990

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  • Sukkoo Kim

Abstract

The United States transformed itself from a rural to an urban society over the last three centuries. After a century of unremarkable growth, the pace of urbanization was historically unprecedented between the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In the twentieth century, the urban population continued to increase but in a much more dispersed manner as the suburban population increased. Throughout these developments, cities also exhibited considerable variation in their population sizes. This paper find that the pace and pattern of U.S. urban development are explained by changes in regional comparative advantage and in economies in transportation and local public goods, which in turn were determined by the changes in the economic structures of cities. This paper also finds that cities varied considerably in size because the larger cities reduced market transaction costs associated with coordinating greater geographic division of labor.

Suggested Citation

  • Sukkoo Kim, 1999. "Urban Development in the United States, 1690-1990," NBER Working Papers 7120, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7120
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    Cited by:

    1. Stephen Malpezzi & Kiat-Ying Seah & James D. Shilling, 2004. "Is It What We Do or How We Do It? New Evidence on Agglomeration Economies and Metropolitan Growth," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 32(2), pages 265-295, June.
    2. Richard Walker, 2005. "Superstars and Renaissance Men: Specialization, Market Size and the Income Distribution," CEP Discussion Papers dp0707, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    3. Walker, Richard, 2005. "Superstars and renaissance men: specialization, market size and the income distribution," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19880, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes
    • N70 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - General, International, or Comparative

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