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

  • Helge Sanner

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.

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Paper provided by Universität Potsdam, Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliche Fakultät in its series Volkswirtschaftliche Diskussionsbeiträge with number 67.

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Date of creation: Jun 2004
Date of revision: Sep 2004
Handle: RePEc:pot:vwldis:67b
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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Eaton, B Curtis & Lipsey, Richard G, 1975. "The Principle of Minimum Differentiation Reconsidered: Some New Developments in the Theory of Spatial Competition," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(1), pages 27-49, January.
  4. 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.
  5. Darlene Chisholm & George Norman, 2002. "Heterogeneous Preferences and Location Choice with Multi-Product Firms," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0205, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  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. Winfried KOENIGER & Omar LICANDRO, 2004. "Substitutability and Competition in the Dixit-Stiglitz Model," Economics Working Papers ECO2004/05, European University Institute.
  8. d'Aspremont, C & Gabszewicz, Jean Jaskold & Thisse, J-F, 1979. "On Hotelling's "Stability in Competition"," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(5), pages 1145-50, September.
  9. 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, June.
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