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The Economics of Density: Evidence from the Berlin Wall

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  • Sturm, Daniel
  • Ahlfeldt, Gabriel
  • Redding, Stephen
  • Wolf, Nikolaus

Abstract

This paper develops a quantitative model of city structure to separate agglomeration forces, dispersion forces and fundamentals as determinants of location choices. The model remains tractable and amenable to empirical analysis because of stochastic shocks to worker productivity, which yield a gravity equation for commuting ows. To empirically disentangle alternative determinants of location choices, we use Berlin s division and reuni cation as a source of exogenous variation in the surrounding concentration of economic activity. Using disaggregated data on land prices, workplace employment and residence employment for thousands of city blocks for 1936, 1986 and 2006, we nd that the model can account both qualitatively and quantitatively for the observed changes in city structure.

Suggested Citation

  • Sturm, Daniel & Ahlfeldt, Gabriel & Redding, Stephen & Wolf, Nikolaus, 2013. "The Economics of Density: Evidence from the Berlin Wall," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79873, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc13:79873
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    JEL classification:

    • N34 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: 1913-
    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • 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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