The Settlement of the United States, 1800 to 2000: The Long Transition Towards Gibrat's Law

48 Pages Posted: 21 Feb 2013

See all articles by Klaus Desmet

Klaus Desmet

Southern Methodist University (SMU); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Jordan Rappaport

Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 2013

Abstract

This paper studies the long run development of U.S. counties and metro areas from 1800 to 2000. In earlier periods smaller counties converge whereas larger counties diverge. Over time, due to changes in the age composition of locations and net congestion, convergence dissipates and divergence weakens. Gibrat's law emerges gradually without fully attaining it. Our findings suggest that orthogonal growth is a consequence of reaching a steady state population distribution, rather than an explanation of that distribution. A simple one-sector model, with entry of new locations, a growth friction, and decreasing net congestion closely matches these and related dynamics.

Keywords: Gibrat's law, growth across space, long-term development, settlement of US, spatial distribution of population

JEL Classification: N91, N92, O18, R11, R12

Suggested Citation

Desmet, Klaus and Rappaport, Jordan, The Settlement of the United States, 1800 to 2000: The Long Transition Towards Gibrat's Law (February 2013). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP9353. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2221753

Klaus Desmet (Contact Author)

Southern Methodist University (SMU) ( email )

6212 Bishop Blvd.
Dallas, TX 75275
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Jordan Rappaport

Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City ( email )

1 Memorial Dr.
Kansas City, MO 64198
United States
816-881-2018 (Phone)
816-881-2199 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.kansascityfed.org/speechbio/rappaport.cfm

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
6
Abstract Views
461
PlumX Metrics