Trade and Circuses: Explaining Urban Giants

40 Pages Posted: 23 May 2011 Last revised: 14 Sep 2014

See all articles by Joseph Beaulieu

Joseph Beaulieu

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Edward L. Glaeser

Harvard University - Department of Economics; Brookings Institution; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: April 1994

Abstract

Using theory, case studies, and cross-country evidence, we investigate the factors behind the concentration of a nation's urban population in a single city. High tariffs, high costs of internal trade, and low levels of international trade increase the degree of concentration. Even more clearly, politics (such as the degree of instability) determines urban primacy. Dictatorships have central cities that are, on average, 50 percent larger than their democratic counterparts. Using information about the timing of city growth, and a series of instruments, we conclude that the predominant causality is from political factors to urban concentration, not from concentration to political change.

Suggested Citation

Beaulieu, Joseph and Glaeser, Edward L., Trade and Circuses: Explaining Urban Giants (April 1994). NBER Working Paper No. w4715. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1849474

Joseph Beaulieu (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

Edward L. Glaeser

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

Littauer Center
Room 315A
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-496-2150 (Phone)
617-496-1722 (Fax)

Brookings Institution

1775 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20036-2188
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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