Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Papers,
Copenhagen Business School, Department of Economics

No 17-2021: The Impact of the Spatial Population Distribution on Economic Growth

Constantin Burgi () and Nisan Gorgulu ()
Additional contact information
Constantin Burgi: University College Dublin, School of Economics
Nisan Gorgulu: Department of Economics, Copenhagen Business School, Postal: Copenhagen Business School, Department of Economics, Porcelaenshaven 16 A. 1. floor, DK-2000 Frederiksberg, Denmark

Abstract: We look at the spatial angle of economic growth. Specifically, we assess whether areas where people live closer together experience faster growth. Traditional measures like population density or urbanization are not optimal, as they are affected by large uninhabited areas or capped, respectively. We thus introduce a new measure Spatial Population Concentration (SPC) that captures how many people live on average within a given radius of every person within a geographic area. This measure allows for a more accurate measurement of the population concentration than traditional measures, as it does not share some of their short comings. Next, we show for U.S. counties that areas with a high spatial population concentration experience faster growth. We find that counties with a low value of SPC measure in 1990 experienced substantially lower GDP growth over the next 25 years.

Keywords: spatial population concentration; endogeneous growth; spillover; the United States

JEL-codes: O47; O51; R12

Language: English

31 pages, November 19, 2021

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