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Productivity and the density of economic activity

To explain the large differences in labor productivity across U.S. states, the authors estimate two models--one based on local geographical externalities and the other on the diversity of local intermediate services--where spatial density results in aggregate increasing returns. Both models lead to a relation between county employment density and productivity at the state level. Using data on gross state output, the authors find that a doubling of employment density increases average labor productivity by around 6 percent. More than half of the variance of output per worker across states can be explained by differences in the density of economic activity. Copyright 1996 by American Economic Association.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra in its series Economics Working Papers with number 120.

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Date of creation: May 1995
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Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:120
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.econ.upf.edu/

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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. J. Vernon Henderson, 1994. "Externalities and Industrial Development," NBER Working Papers 4730, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Sveikauskas, Leo A, 1975. "The Productivity of Cities," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 89(3), pages 393-413, August.
  4. Antonio Ciccone & Robert E. Hall, 1993. "Productivity and the Density of Economic Activity," NBER Working Papers 4313, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Glaeser, Edward L & Mare, David C, 2001. "Cities and Skills," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(2), pages 316-42, April.
  6. Steven J. Davis, 1992. "Cross-Country Patterns of Change in Relative Wages," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1992, Volume 7, pages 239-300 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Glaeser, Edward Ludwig & Kallal, Hedi D. & Scheinkman, Jose A. & Shleifer, Andrei, 1992. "Growth in Cities," Scholarly Articles 3451309, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  8. Spence, Michael, 1976. "Product Selection, Fixed Costs, and Monopolistic Competition," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(2), pages 217-35, June.
  9. Carlino, Gerald A. & Voith, Richard, 1992. "Accounting for differences in aggregate state productivity," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 597-617, November.
  10. Henderson, J V, 1974. "The Sizes and Types of Cities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(4), pages 640-56, September.
  11. Henderson, J. Vernon, 1986. "Efficiency of resource usage and city size," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 47-70, January.
  12. Teresa Garcia-MilĂ  & Therese J. McGuire & Robert H. Porter, 1993. "The effect of public capital in state-level production functions reconsidered," Economics Working Papers 36, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  13. Moomaw, Ronald L., 1985. "Firm location and city size: Reduced productivity advantages as a factor in the decline of manufacturing in urban areas," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 73-89, January.
  14. Abdel-Rahman, H. M., 1988. "Product differentiation, monopolistic competition and city size," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 69-86, February.
  15. Rivera-Batiz, Francisco L., 1988. "Increasing returns, monopolistic competition, and agglomeration economies in consumption and production," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 125-153, February.
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