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Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN) Working Paper Series

No 1167:
The Economic Microgeography of Diversity and Specialization

Martin Andersson (), Johan P. Larsson () and Joakim Wernberg ()

Abstract: As cities increasingly become centers of economic growth and innovation, there is a need to understand their inner workings and organization in greater detail. We use ge-coded firm-level panel data at the sub-city level to assess the long-standing question whether agglomeration economies derive from specialization (within-industry) or diversity (between-industry). We show that these two types of externalities co-exist, but differ in their spatial distribution and attenuation within cities. There are robust positive effects of diversity and specialization on firms’ TFP growth at the local within-city neighborhood level, especially for firms in high-tech and knowledge-intensive activities. While specialization effects are bound to the local sub-city level, we demonstrate a positive effect of overall diversity also at the city-wide level. The results resonate with the idea that urban economies provide a mix of industrial diversity and specialisation. A location in a within-city industry cluster in a diversified, large city appears to let firms enjoy the benefits of local industry-specific externalities, while reaping the general city-wide benefits of a diversified city.

Keywords: Productivity; Diversity; Specialization; Externalities; Knowledge spillovers; Attenuation; Agglomeration economies; Geocoding; (follow links to similar papers)

JEL-Codes: D24; L23; R12; (follow links to similar papers)

28 pages, May 10, 2017

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