History and the Sizes of Cities

12 Pages Posted: 19 Aug 2015

See all articles by Hoyt Bleakley

Hoyt Bleakley

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

Jeffrey Lin

Federal Reserve Banks - Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: 2015-01-12

Abstract

We contrast evidence of urban path dependence with efforts to analyze calibrated models of city sizes. Recent evidence of persistent city sizes following the obsolescence of historical advantages suggests that path dependence cannot be understood as the medium-run effect of legacy capital but instead as the long-run effect of equilibrium selection. In contrast, a different, recent literature uses stylized models in which fundamentals uniquely determine city size. We show that a commonly used model is inconsistent with evidence of long-run persistence in city sizes and propose several modifications that might allow for multiplicity and thus historical path dependence.

Keywords: Multiple equilibria, Locational fundamentals, Path dependence

JEL Classification: F12, N90, R12

Suggested Citation

Bleakley, Hoyt and Lin, Jeffrey, History and the Sizes of Cities (2015-01-12). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2646110 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2646110

Hoyt Bleakley (Contact Author)

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor ( email )

500 S. State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States

Jeffrey Lin

Federal Reserve Banks - Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia ( email )

Ten Independence Mall
Philadelphia, PA 19106-1574
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
15
Abstract Views
382
PlumX Metrics