Urban Growth Shadows
48 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2019
Date Written: September 28, 2019
Does a location's growth benefit or suffer from being geographically close to large economic centers? Spatial proximity may lead to competition and hurt growth, but it may also generate positive spillovers and enhance growth. Using data on U.S. counties and metro areas for the period 1840-2017, we document this tradeoff between urban shadows and urban spillovers. Proximity to large urban centers was negatively associated with growth between 1840 and 1920, and positively associated with growth after 1920. Using a two-city spatial equilibrium model with intra-city and inter-city commuting, we show that the secular evolution of commuting costs can account for this and other observed patterns in the data.
Keywords: urban shadows, agglomeration economies, spatial economics, urban systems, city growth, United States, 1840-2017
JEL Classification: R12, N93
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation