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How polycentric is a monocentric city? The role of agglomeration economies

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  • Ahlfeldt, Gabriel M.
  • Wendland, Nicolai

Abstract

Can the demise of the monocentric economy across cities during the 20th century be explained by decreasing transport costs to the city center or are other fundamental forces at work? Taking a hybrid perspective of classical bid-rent theory and a world where clustering of economic activity is driven by (knowledge) spillovers, Berlin, Germany, from 1890 to 1936 serves as a case in point. We assess the extent to which firms in an environment of decreasing transport costs and industrial transformation face a trade-off between distance to the CBD and land rents and how agglomeration economies come into play in shaping their location decisions. Our results suggest that an observable flattening of the traditional distance to the CBD gradient may mask the emergence of significant agglomeration economies, especially within predominantly service-based inner city districts.

Suggested Citation

  • Ahlfeldt, Gabriel M. & Wendland, Nicolai, 2010. "How polycentric is a monocentric city? The role of agglomeration economies," MPRA Paper 24078, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:24078
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Ahlfeldt, Gabriel M., 2011. "If we build, will they pay?: predicting property price effects of transport innovations," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 33595, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    2. Gabriel M. Ahlfeldt & Arne Feddersen, 2010. "From periphery to core: economic adjustments to high speed rail," Working Papers 2010/38, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    3. David Cuberes & Jennifer Roberts, 2015. "Household location and income: a spatial analysis for British cities," Working Papers 2015022, The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Transport Innovations; Land Values; Location Productivity; Agglomeration Economies; Economic History; Berlin;

    JEL classification:

    • N9 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History
    • N7 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services
    • R33 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Nonagricultural and Nonresidential Real Estate Markets
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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