Urban Structure and Economic Growth

Peter Gordon and Harry W. Richardson

in The Oxford Handbook of Urban Economics and Planning

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780195380620
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Urban Structure and Economic Growth

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  • Urban, Rural, and Regional Economics


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Research in recent years has reemphasized the importance of institutions that best poise entrepreneurs to succeed. This idea has been enriched over the years with the insights of Joseph Schumpeter F. A. Hayek, Douglass North, and many others. This article surveys recent work in urban economics and suggests that its challenge is to explain how entrepreneurs and others can be spatially poised to succeed. It calls attention to the underestimation of urban structure as a factor explaining affluence. Parallel to Douglass North's explanation that institutions matter, it describes how cities matter. It argues that favorable institutions make it possible to get favorable spatial arrangements, and both of them are essential to economic growth. Furthermore, it argues that urban form matters to economic growth. It also challenges policy discussions that presume planners can and should attempt to reorganize urban structure.

Keywords: urban structure; entrepreneurs; urban economics; economic growth; cities; spatial arrangements

Article.  9060 words. 

Subjects: Economics ; Urban, Rural, and Regional Economics

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