Complex Economic Activities Concentrate in Large Cities
43 Pages Posted: 9 Aug 2018
Date Written: July 24, 2018
Why do some economic activities agglomerate more than others? And, why does the agglomeration of some economic activities continue to increase despite recent developments in communication and transportation technologies? In this paper, we present evidence that complex economic activities concentrate more in large cities. We find this to be true for technologies, scientific publications, industries, and occupations. Using historical patent data, we show that the urban concentration of complex economic activities has been continuously increasing since 1850. These findings suggest that the increasing urban concentration of jobs and innovation might be a consequence of the growing complexity of the economy.
Keywords: Scaling, Complexity, Innovation
JEL Classification: O33, R11
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation