Growth in Cities
38 Pages Posted: 3 Feb 2001 Last revised: 26 Apr 2015
Date Written: July 1991
Recent theories of economic growth, including Romer (1986), Porter (1989) and Jacobs (1969), have stressed the role of technological spillovers in generating growth. Because such knowledge spillovers are particularly effective in cities, where communication between people is more extensive, data on the growth of industries in different cities allows us to test some of these theories. Using a new data set on the growth of large industries in 170 U.S. cities between 1956 and 1987, we find that local competition and urban variety, but not regional specialization, encourage employment growth in industries. The evidence suggests that important knowledge spillovers might be between, rather than within industries, consistent with the theories of Jacobs (1969).
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