Economic Distress and Resurgence in U.S. Central Cities: Concepts, Causes, and Policy Levers

38 Pages Posted: 12 Dec 2013

See all articles by Yolanda K. Kodrzycki

Yolanda K. Kodrzycki

Federal Reserve Bank of Boston - Research Department

Ana Patricia Munoz

Federal Reserve Bank of Boston

Date Written: May 9, 2013

Abstract

This paper provides a review of the literature on U.S. central city growth and distress during the second half of the twentieth century. It finds that city growth tended to be higher in metropolitan areas with favorable weather, higher growth, and greater human capital, while distress was strongly correlated with city-level manufacturing legacy. The article affirms that distress has been highly persistent, but that some cities have achieved resurgence through a combination of strong leadership, collaboration across sectors and institutions, clear and broad-based strategies, and significant infrastructure investments. Finally, the article explores measurement issues by comparing two methodologies used to identify poorly performing central cities: comparisons across a comprehensive national cross-section of cities and comparisons within smaller samples of similar cities. It finds that these approaches have produced similar assessments of a city’s status, except in some cases where the city’s progress has been uneven across time or with respect to alternative criteria.

JEL Classification: R11, R12, R23, R58, O15

Suggested Citation

Kodrzycki, Yolanda K. and Munoz, Ana Patricia, Economic Distress and Resurgence in U.S. Central Cities: Concepts, Causes, and Policy Levers (May 9, 2013). FRB of Boston Public Policy Brief No. 13-3, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2366547 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2366547

Yolanda K. Kodrzycki (Contact Author)

Federal Reserve Bank of Boston - Research Department ( email )

600 Atlantic Avenue
Boston, MA 02210
United States
617-973-3809 (Phone)

Ana Patricia Munoz

Federal Reserve Bank of Boston ( email )

600 Atlantic Avenue
Boston, MA 02210
United States

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