We provide a bare-bones framework that uncovers the circumstances which lead either to the emergence of equally-spaced and equally-sized central places or to a hierarchy of central places. We show how these patterns reect the preferences of agents and the e¢ ciency of trans- portation and communication technologies. With one population of homogeneous individuals, the economy is characterized by a uniform distribution or by a periodic distribution of central places having the same size. The interaction between two distinct populations may give rise to a hierarchy of central places with one or several primate cities
We combine spatial and monopolistic competition to study market interactions between downtown retailers and an outlying shopping mall. Consumers shop at either one marketplace or at both, and buy each variety in volume. The market solution stems from the interplay between the market expansion effect generated by consumers seeking more opportunities, and the competition effect. Firms' profits increase (decrease) with the entry of local competitors when the former (latter) dominates. Downtown retailers vanish swiftly when the mall is large. A predatory but efficient mall need not be regulated, whereas the regulator must restrict the size of a mall accommodating downtown retailers.
We consider an economic geography setting in which firms are free to choose one of the following organizational types: (i) integrated firms, which perform all their activities at the same location, (ii) horizontal firms, which operate several plants producing the same good at different locations, and (iii) vertical firms, which perform distinct activities at separated locations. We show that there exists a unique organizational equilibrium, which typically involves the coexistence of various organizational forms. We also give necessary and sufficient conditions for the three types of firms to coexist within the same region and show that transportation and communication costs have opposite effects on firms’ organizational choices. This suggests that, depending on its nature, the supply of a new transportation infrastructure may lead to contrasted locational patterns.
In many countries, wind turbines are constructed as part of a strategy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. In this paper, we measure the external effect of wind turbines on the transaction prices of nearby houses. A unique Dutch house price dataset covering the period 1985–2011 is used, as well as the exact location of all wind turbines that were built in the Netherlands. Using a difference-in-differences methodology we find a 1.4% price decrease for houses within 2 km of a turbine. There is also evidence for anticipation effects a few years before placement of a turbine. The effect is larger for taller turbines and in urban areas. Especially the first turbine built close to a house has a negative effect on its price.
Why do shops cluster in shopping streets? We argue that retail firms benefit from shopping externalities. We identify these externalities for the main Dutch shopping streets by estimating the effect of footfall – the number of pedestrians that pass by – and the number of shops in the vicinity on store owners’ rental income. We address endogeneity issues by exploiting spatial variation within shopping streets combined with historic long-lagged instruments. Our estimates imply an elasticity of rental income with respect to footfall as well as number of shops in the vicinity of (at least) 0.25. We show that these shopping externalities are unlikely to be internalised. It follows that substantial subsidies to shop owners are welfare improving, seemingly justifying current policies. Finally, we find limited evidence for heterogeneity between retail firms located in shopping streets in their willingness to pay for shopping externalities.
The world is replete with spatial frictions. Shipping goods across cities entails trade frictions. Commuting within cities causes urban frictions. How important are these frictions in shaping the spatial economy? We develop and quantify a multi-city general equilibrium model to address this question at three different levels: Do spatial frictions matter for the city-size distribution? Do they affect individual city sizes? Do they contribute to the productivity advantage of large cities and the toughness of competition in cities? The short answers are: no; yes; and it depends.
We develop an urban model that incorporates: (1) heterogeneous sites; (2) fiscal and urban externalities; and (3) an endogenous number of cities, i.e., the extensive margin of urban development. Within- and across-city decreasing returns to scale cause agents to perceive their city as being too large in the socially optimal allocation. As a consequence, in equilibrium the largest cities on the most amenable sites are undersized, whereas the smaller cities on less amenable sites are oversized. We propose a test for optimal city size with heterogeneous sites extending the Henry George Theorem.
This paper documents the negative relationship between the age of cities and their average wages in Russia and a number of post-Soviet countries. To determine age-related urban characteristics responsible for this relationship, we develop a spatial equilibrium model as a framework to guide the interpretation of the regression estimates. Higher real wages in newer cities reflect both their disadvantages as places for living and their production advantages. The latter are related to their production amenities, higher shares of skilled workers, and more available natural resources. These advantages and disadvantages tend to disappear over time, which gives rise to income convergence.