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Economy vs. History: What Does Actually Determine the Distribution of Firms' Locations in Cities?

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  • Helge Sanner

Abstract

The aim of this study is to examine in which cases economic forces or historical singularities prevail in the determination of the long-run distribution of firms. We develop a relatively general model of heterogenous firms' location choice in discrete space. The main force towards an agglomerated structure is the reduction of transaction costs for consumers if firms are located closely, whilst competition and transport costs work towards a more disperse structure. We then assess the importance of the initial conditions by simulating and comparing the resulting distribution of firms for identical economic parameters but varying initial settings. If the equilibrium distributions of firms are similar we conclude that economic forces have prevailed, while differences in the resulting distributions indicate that 'history' is more important. The (dis)similarity of distributions of firms is calculated by means of a measure, which exhibits a number of desirable features.

Suggested Citation

  • Helge Sanner, 2004. "Economy vs. History: What Does Actually Determine the Distribution of Firms' Locations in Cities?," Volkswirtschaftliche Diskussionsbeiträge 67, Universität Potsdam, Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliche Fakultät, revised Sep 2004.
  • Handle: RePEc:pot:vwldis:67b
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. B. Curtis Eaton & Richard G. Lipsey, 1975. "The Principle of Minimum Differentiation Reconsidered: Some New Developments in the Theory of Spatial Competition," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(1), pages 27-49.
    2. Winfried Koeniger & Omar Licandro, "undated". "Substitutability and Competition in the Dixit-Stiglitz Model," Working Papers 2004-06, FEDEA.
    3. Masahisa Fujita & Paul Krugman & Anthony J. Venables, 2001. "The Spatial Economy: Cities, Regions, and International Trade," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262561476.
    4. Tjalling C. Koopmans & Martin J. Beckmann, 1955. "Assignment Problems and the Location of Economic Activities," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 4, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    5. Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1977. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(3), pages 297-308, June.
    6. Pal, Debashis & Sarkar, Jyotirmoy, 2002. "Spatial competition among multi-store firms," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 163-190, February.
    7. Capozza, Dennis R & Van Order, Robert, 1978. "A Generalized Model of Spatial Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(5), pages 896-908, December.
    8. Chisholm, Darlene C. & Norman, George, 2004. "Heterogeneous preferences and location choice with multi-product firms," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 321-339, May.
    9. d'Aspremont, C & Gabszewicz, Jean Jaskold & Thisse, J-F, 1979. "On Hotelling's "Stability in Competition"," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(5), pages 1145-1150, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Norbert Eickhof & Kathrin Isele, 2005. "Do Economists Matter? Eine politökonomische Analyse des Einflusses wettbewerbspolitischer Leitbilder auf die europäische Fusionskontrolle," Volkswirtschaftliche Diskussionsbeiträge 74, Universität Potsdam, Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliche Fakultät.
    2. Verena L. Holzer, 2004. "Does the German Renewable Energies Act fulfil Sustainable Development Objectives?," Volkswirtschaftliche Diskussionsbeiträge 73, Universität Potsdam, Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliche Fakultät.
    3. Klaus Schöler, 2007. "Gibt es eine optimale Stadtgröße?," Volkswirtschaftliche Diskussionsbeiträge 89, Universität Potsdam, Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliche Fakultät.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Firm location choice; Discrete space; Path dependency;

    JEL classification:

    • C61 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Optimization Techniques; Programming Models; Dynamic Analysis
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)

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