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How polycentric is a monocentric city? Centers, spillovers and hysteresis

Ahlfeldt, Gabriel M. and Wendland, Nicolai (2012):
How polycentric is a monocentric city? Centers, spillovers and hysteresis.
In: Journal of Economic Geography, 13 (1), pp. 53-83, ISSN 1468-2702,
[Online-Edition: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jeg/lbs013],
[Article]

Abstract

We assess the extent to which firms in an environment of decreasing transport costs and industrial transformation value the benefits of proximity to a historic central business district (CBD) and agglomeration economies in their location decisions. Taking a hybrid perspective of classical bid-rent theory and a world where clustering of economic activity is driven by between-firm spillovers, Berlin, Germany, from 1890 to 1936 serves as a case in point. Our results suggest that the average productivity effect of a doubling of between-firm spillovers over the study period increases from 3.5% to 8.3%. As the city transforms into a service-based economy, several micro-agglomerations emerge. Their locations close to the CBD still make the city look roughly monocentric. This is in line with a hysteresis effect in which second-nature geography drives the ongoing strength of a historic city center even though the importance of the originally relevant first-nature geography has vanished.

Item Type: Article
Erschienen: 2012
Creators: Ahlfeldt, Gabriel M. and Wendland, Nicolai
Title: How polycentric is a monocentric city? Centers, spillovers and hysteresis
Language: English
Abstract:

We assess the extent to which firms in an environment of decreasing transport costs and industrial transformation value the benefits of proximity to a historic central business district (CBD) and agglomeration economies in their location decisions. Taking a hybrid perspective of classical bid-rent theory and a world where clustering of economic activity is driven by between-firm spillovers, Berlin, Germany, from 1890 to 1936 serves as a case in point. Our results suggest that the average productivity effect of a doubling of between-firm spillovers over the study period increases from 3.5% to 8.3%. As the city transforms into a service-based economy, several micro-agglomerations emerge. Their locations close to the CBD still make the city look roughly monocentric. This is in line with a hysteresis effect in which second-nature geography drives the ongoing strength of a historic city center even though the importance of the originally relevant first-nature geography has vanished.

Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Economic Geography
Volume: 13
Number: 1
Uncontrolled Keywords: Transport innovations; land values; location productivity; agglomeration economies; economic history; Berlin; N7; N9 R33; O12
Divisions: 01 Department of Law and Economics > Volkswirtschaftliche Fachgebiete > International Economics
01 Department of Law and Economics > Volkswirtschaftliche Fachgebiete
01 Department of Law and Economics
Date Deposited: 22 Jul 2013 11:43
Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jeg/lbs013
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