Trade Policy and the Third World Metropolis
38 Pages Posted: 27 Apr 2000 Last revised: 12 Aug 2010
Date Written: December 1992
Many of the world's largest cities are now in developing countries. We develop a simple theoretical model, inspired by the case of Mexico, that explains the existence of such giant cities as a consequence of the strong forward and backward linkages that arise when manufacturing tries to serve a small domestic market. The model implies that these linkages are much weaker when the economy is open to international trade -- in other words, the giant Third World metropolis is an unintended by-product of import-substitution policies, and will tend to shrink as developing countries liberalize.
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