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Author:Desmet, Klaus 

Working Paper
Urban Growth Shadows

Does a location's growth benefit or suffer from being geographically close to large economic centers? Spatial proximity may lead to competition and hurt growth, but it may also generate positive spillovers and enhance growth. Using data on U.S. counties and metro areas for the period 1840?2017, we document this tradeoff between urban shadows and urban spillovers. Proximity to large urban centers was negatively associated with growth from 1840 to 1920, and positively associated with growth after 1920. Using a two-city spatial equilibrium model with intra-city and inter-city commuting, we show ...
Research Working Paper , Paper RWP 19-8

Working Paper
The settlement of the United States, 1800 to 2000: the long transition towards Gibrat's law

A prominent strand of economic literature argues that population growth rates across locations areas are uncorrelated with the population levels of those locations (?Gibrat?s Law?). Such uncorrelated growth, it is argued, can account for the current distribution of population across locations. This paper shows that, on the contrary, locations? population growth throughout U.S. history has always been highly correlated with their initial population levels. Throughout the entire 19th century and the early 20th century, low-population locations tended to grow faster than intermediate-population ...
Research Working Paper , Paper RWP 13-02

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