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What makes cities bigger and richer? Evidence from 1990-2000 in the US

González-Val, Rafael (2009): What makes cities bigger and richer? Evidence from 1990-2000 in the US.

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Abstract

This paper analyses the determinants of growth of American cities, understood as growth of the population or per capita income, from 1990 to 2000. This empirical analysis uses data from all cities with no size restriction (our sample contains data for 21,655 cities). The results show that while population growth in cities appears to be independent of initial size, the growth of city per capita income is negatively correlated to initial per capita income: the richest cities grew less in this period. To try to explain these differentiated behaviors, we examine the relationship between urban characteristics in 1990 and city growth (both in population and in per capita income) using a Multinomial Logit Model. The geographical situation of cities seems to play a key role in their growth.

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