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Growth in a Cross-Section of Cities: Location, Increasing Returns or Random Growth?

Author

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  • Rafael González-Val

    () (Barcelona Institute of Economics - University of Barcelona, Barcelona)

  • Jose Olmo

    (Jose Olmo, Centro Universitario de la Defensa & City University London)

Abstract

This article analyzes empirically the main existing theories on income and population city growth: increasing returns to scale, locational fundamentals and random growth. To do this we implement a threshold nonlinearity test that extends standard linear growth regression models to a dataset on urban, climatological and macroeconomic variables on 1,175 U.S. cities. Our analysis reveals the existence of increasing returns when per-capita income levels are beyond $19; 264. Despite this, income growth is mostly explained by social and locational fundamentals. Population growth also exhibits two distinct equilibria determined by a threshold value of 116,300 inhabitants beyond which city population grows at a higher rate. Income and population growth do not go hand in hand, implying an optimal level of population beyond which income growth stagnates or deteriorates

Suggested Citation

  • Rafael González-Val & Jose Olmo, 2011. "Growth in a Cross-Section of Cities: Location, Increasing Returns or Random Growth?," Working Papers XREAP2011-21, Xarxa de Referència en Economia Aplicada (XREAP), revised Dec 2011.
  • Handle: RePEc:xrp:wpaper:xreap2011-21
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Cited by:

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    threshold nonlinearity test; locational fundamentals; multiple equilibria; random growth;

    JEL classification:

    • C12 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Hypothesis Testing: General
    • C13 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Estimation: General
    • C33 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • R0 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes

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