Industry Churning and the Evolution of Cities: Evidence for Germany

27 Pages Posted: 3 Dec 2007

See all articles by Sebastian Findeisen

Sebastian Findeisen

University of Zurich; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Jens Suedekum

Heinrich-Heine-University Duesseldorf, Duesseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Date Written: November 2007

Abstract

In this paper we show that the recent model by Duranton (AER, 2007) performs remarkably well in replicating the city size distribution of West Germany, much better than the simple rank-size rule known as Zipf's law. The main mechanism of this theoretical framework is the "churning" of industries across cities. Little is known so far about the determinants of local industry turnover, however. We present an empirical analysis of the excess churning index for West German cities, which describes the strength of intra-city industry reallocations that has occurred over time. We find that human capital is a key driver of growth and local industrial change, but only among successful cities. Industrial change within unsuccessful cities is strongly driven by the disappearance of old-fashioned and declining industries such as agriculture or mining. On a more general level, our results suggest that the recent model by Duranton is a powerful description of the urban growth process. Still there are some aspects that are not captured by that model, which are at the core of other theories of urban growth.

Keywords: industry turnover, urban growth, structural change, churning, city size distribution, Zipf's law

JEL Classification: O18, R11, R12

Suggested Citation

Findeisen, Sebastian and Südekum, Jens, Industry Churning and the Evolution of Cities: Evidence for Germany (November 2007). IZA Discussion Paper No. 3180, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1048241

Sebastian Findeisen

University of Zurich ( email )

Rämistrasse 71
Zürich, CH-8006
Switzerland

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Jens Südekum (Contact Author)

Heinrich-Heine-University Duesseldorf, Duesseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE) ( email )

Universitaetsstr. 1
Duesseldorf, NRW 40225
Germany

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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