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A Model of Sequential City Growth

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  • Cuberes, David

Abstract

There is strong evidence showing that in most countries cities develop sequentially, with the initially largest cities being the first to grow. This paper presents a growth model of optimal city size that rationalizes this growth pattern. Increasing returns to scale is the force that favors agglomeration of resources in a city, and convex costs associated with the stock of installed capital represent the congestion force that limits city size. The key to generate sequential growth is the assumption of irreversible investment in physical capital. The presence of a positive external effect of aggregate city capital on individual firms makes the competitive equilibrium inefficient.

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  • Cuberes, David, 2008. "A Model of Sequential City Growth," MPRA Paper 8431, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:8431
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Rafael González-Val, 2016. "Historical urban growth in Europe (1300–1800)," Working Papers 2016/8, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    2. Sánchez-Vidal, María & González-Val, Rafael & Viladecans-Marsal, Elisabet, 2014. "Sequential city growth in the US: Does age matter?," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 29-37.
    3. Kristian Giesen & Jens Suedekum, 2012. "The Size Distribution Across All 'Cities': A Unifying Approach," SERC Discussion Papers 0122, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
    4. Cuberes, David, 2011. "Sequential city growth: Empirical evidence," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 229-239, March.
    5. Giesen, Kristian & Suedekum, Jens, 2014. "City age and city size," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 193-208.
    6. Biller, Dan & Andres, Luis & Cuberes, David, 2014. "A dynamic spatial model of rural-urban transformation with public goods," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7051, The World Bank.
    7. Rafael González-Val & Luis Lanaspa, 2016. "Patterns in US Urban Growth, 1790-2000," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 50(2), pages 289-309, February.
    8. Wu, Jian-Xin & He, Ling-Yun, 2017. "How do Chinese cities grow? A distribution dynamics approach," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 470(C), pages 105-118.
    9. Howard Bodenhorn & David Cuberes, 2010. "Financial Development and City Growth: Evidence from Northeastern American Cities, 1790-1870," NBER Working Papers 15997, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    City Growth; Increasing Returns; Congestion Costs;

    JEL classification:

    • N90 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • O57 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Comparative Studies of Countries
    • 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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