Cities, Matching and the Productivity Gains of Agglomeration
Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC)
Simon M. Burgess
University of Bristol - Department of Economics; University of Bristol - Leverhulme Centre for Market and Public Organisation (CMPO); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
American Institutes for Research; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)
CEPR Discussion Paper No. 4598
The striking geographical concentration of economic activities suggests that there are substantial benefits to agglomeration. The nature of those benefits remains unclear, however. In this paper, we take advantage of a new dataset to quantify the role of one of the main contenders: the matching of workers and jobs. Using individual level data for two large US states, we show that thicker urban labor markets are associated with more assortative matching between workers and firms. Another critical condition is required for this to generate higher productivity: complementarity of worker and firm quality in the production function. Using establishment level productivity regressions, we show that such complementarity is found in our data. Putting together the production and matching relationships, we show that production complementarity and assortative matching is an important source of the urban productivity premium.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 43
Keywords: Urban productivity, matching, agglomeration
JEL Classification: J24, R12, R23
Date posted: October 25, 2004
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