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Working Paper
Cities
Elisabet Viladecans

2002/03: The growth of cities: Does agglomeration matter?

Does agglomeration influence the growth capacity of cities? Would an excessive agglomeration diminish this capacity? In the document the factors determining the growth of Spanish cities from 1981 to 2000 are examined. From recent theoretical approaches, these determining factors are the ones that affect the productivity of the firms, the quality of life for the inhabitants and the availability of land. After developing the theoretical model, the results of the empirical analysis applied to the large cities indicate that the initial conditions of 1981 effectively influence the capacity for growth of these cities. The cities that start with higher levels of population, general economic activity, industrial activity and unemployment and lower levels of technology and surface area present lower rates of economic and demographic growth. Reproducing the analysis for sub-periods (the decades of the eighties and the nineties), it has been demonstrated that, in spite of obtaining similar results, the factors that determine the growth of cities change over time.



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