Bones, Bombs and Break Points: The Geography of Economic Activity

46 Pages Posted: 4 Oct 2001

See all articles by Donald R. Davis

Donald R. Davis

Columbia University, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

David E. Weinstein

Columbia University - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: October 2001

Abstract

We consider the distribution of economic activity within a country in light of three leading theories - increasing returns, random growth, and locational fundamentals. To do so, we examine the distribution of regional population in Japan from the Stone Age to the modern era. We also consider the Allied bombing of Japanese cities in WWII as a shock to relative city sizes. Our results support a hybrid theory in which locational fundamentals establish the spatial pattern of relative regional densities, but increasing returns may help to determine the degree of spatial differentiation. One implication of these results is that even large temporary shocks to urban areas have no long-run impact on city size.

Suggested Citation

Davis, Donald R. and Weinstein, David E., Bones, Bombs and Break Points: The Geography of Economic Activity (October 2001). NBER Working Paper No. w8517. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=286189

Donald R. Davis (Contact Author)

Columbia University, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Department of Economics ( email )

420 W. 118th Street
New York, NY 10027
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212-854-4037 (Phone)
212-854-8059 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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David E. Weinstein

Columbia University - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences - Department of Economics ( email )

420 W. 118th Street
MC 3308
New York, NY 10027
United States
212-854-6880 (Phone)
212-854-8059 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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