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Urban Productivity and Factor Growth in the Late Nineteenth Century

Author

Listed:
  • Raphael Bostic

    (Stanford)

  • Joshua Gans

    (University of New South Wales)

  • Scott Stern

    (Sloan)

Abstract

This paper uncovers a series of empirical facts regarding the sources of U.S. urban growth in the 1880s. We use a large theoretical literature to provide motivations for a number of potential sources of growth, particularly those based on geographical proximity externalities. These sources are characterised and linked to empirical proxies. Then we estimate the covariation of these empirical proxies with the growth rate in output, capital and labor respectively. We find that traditional (neoclassical), several geographic externality, and socio-political factors all covary significantly with aggregate growth, though in very specific ways. For example, the size of a city (a measure of the degree of urbanization) is uncorrelated with output growth, positively correlated with labor growth, and negatively correlated with capital growth. No one extant theory of growth accounts simultaneously for all the phenomena that we observe.

Suggested Citation

  • Raphael Bostic & Joshua Gans & Scott Stern, 1995. "Urban Productivity and Factor Growth in the Late Nineteenth Century," Urban/Regional 9507001, EconWPA.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpur:9507001 Note: 27 pages, postscript file
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Cited by:

    1. Junius, Karsten, 1997. "Economies of scale: A survey of the empirical literature," Kiel Working Papers 813, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    2. van Oort, Frank & Gerking, Shelby & van Soest, Daan, 2000. "A Spatial Analysis Of Endogenous Growth In Industry And Services In The Netherlands," ERSA conference papers ersa00p195, European Regional Science Association.
    3. Enrico Spolaore & Romain Wacziarg, 2015. "Ancestry, Language and Culture," NBER Working Papers 21242, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Ritsila, Jari & Tervo, Hannu, 2002. "Effects of Unemployment on New Firm Formation: Micro-level Panel Data Evidence from Finland," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 31-40, August.
    5. Alexander Klein & Nicholas Crafts, 2015. "Agglomeration Economies and Productivity Growth: U.S. Cities, 1880-1930," Studies in Economics 1514, School of Economics, University of Kent.
    6. Scott Stern & Michael E. Porter & Jeffrey L. Furman, 2000. "The Determinants of National Innovative Capacity," NBER Working Papers 7876, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Raphael W. Bostic & Breck L. Robinson, 2003. "Do CRA Agreements Influence Lending Patterns?," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, pages 23-51.
    8. Combes, Pierre-Philippe, 2000. "Economic Structure and Local Growth: France, 1984-1993," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 329-355, May.
    9. Raphael W. Bostic & Breck L. Robinson, 2003. "Do CRA Agreements Influence Lending Patterns?," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, pages 23-51.
    10. Joshua Drucker, 2009. "Trends in Regional Industrial Concentration in the United States," Working Papers 09-06, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.

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    JEL classification:

    • R - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics

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