Lost in Space: Population Growth in the American Hinterlands and Small Cities

Posted: 27 Oct 2008

See all articles by Mark Partridge

Mark Partridge

Ohio State University (OSU) - Department of Agricultural, Environmental & Development Economics

Dan S. Rickman

Oklahoma State University - Stillwater - Department of Economics & Legal Studies in Business

Kamar Ali

University of Saskatchewan - College of Agriculture - Agricultural Economics

M. Rose Olfert

University of Saskatchewan - College of Agriculture - Agricultural Economics

Date Written: November 2008

Abstract

The sources of urban agglomeration and the development of the urban system have been studied extensively. Despite the pivotal role of the hinterlands in theories of the development of the urban system, little attention has been paid to the effect of urban agglomeration in a developed, mature economy on growth in the hinterlands. Therefore, this study examines how proximity to urban agglomeration affects contemporary population growth (PopGr) in hinterland U.S. counties. Proximity to urban agglomeration is measured in terms of both distances to higher tiered areas in the urban hierarchy and proximity to market potential (MP). Particular attention is paid to whether periodic changes and trends in underlying conditions (e.g. technology or transport costs) have altered PopGr patterns in the hinterlands and small urban centers. Over the period 1950–2000, we find strong negative growth effects of distances to higher tiered urban areas, with significant, but lesser effects of distance to MP. Further, the costs of distance, if anything, appear to be increasing over time, consistent with a number of recent theories stressing the effect of new technology on the spatial distribution of activity in a mature urban system.

Keywords: agglomeration, new economic geography, urban hierarchy, population growth

JEL Classification: R110, R120, R230

Suggested Citation

Partridge, Mark D. and Rickman, Dan S. and Ali, Kamar and Olfert, M. Rose, Lost in Space: Population Growth in the American Hinterlands and Small Cities (November 2008). Journal of Economic Geography, Vol. 8, Issue 6, pp. 727-757, 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1289162 or http://dx.doi.org/lbn038

Mark D. Partridge (Contact Author)

Ohio State University (OSU) - Department of Agricultural, Environmental & Development Economics ( email )

2120 Fyffe Rd
Columbus, OH 43210-1067
United States

Dan S. Rickman

Oklahoma State University - Stillwater - Department of Economics & Legal Studies in Business ( email )

201 Business Building
Stillwater, OK 74078-0555
United States

Kamar Ali

University of Saskatchewan - College of Agriculture - Agricultural Economics ( email )

51 Campus Drive
Saskatoon, SK S7N 5A8
Canada

M. Rose Olfert

University of Saskatchewan - College of Agriculture - Agricultural Economics ( email )

51 Campus Drive
Saskatoon, SK S7N 5A8
Canada

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