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Growing Urban GDP or Attracting People? Different Causes, Different Consequences

Paul Cheshire () and Stefano Magrini ()

Chapter Chapter 16 in New Directions in Regional Economic Development, 2009, pp 291-315 from Springer

Abstract: Abstract In this chapter we investigate growth differences in the urban system of the EU12 over the last decades of the twentieth century, defined in two distinct ways: as growth in population, off setting for natural change so proxying for net migration; or as growth in real GDP percent. Each of these growth processes is investigated using a family of related models. We do not give substantial technical details of the two families of models used since these are available in Cheshire and Magrini (2006a, b). Rather the purpose is to highlight the similarities and the differences in the drivers of urban population as compared to “economic” growth and in doing so, reveal some interesting features of spatial adjustment processes in Europe and – briefly – how these compare to those in the USA. We start with a brief analysis of population growth in the major city regions of the EU of 12 over the period 1980–2000. These “city regions” are represented as Functional Urban Regions or FURs – as briefly explained in Sect. 16.2. Since we include the rate of population growth in the area of each country outside its major FURs as a control variable, we are, in effect, analyzing the pattern of net migration change over the two decades in each FUR. The conclusion is that interregional migration is orders of magnitude less in the EU than in the USA and that while internal migration flows do respond to the most obvious quality of life differences they do so only as quality of life varies within countries. We also find that national boundaries continue to be substantial barriers to spatial adjustment processes in Europe. The conclusion is, therefore, that in a European context one does not observe spatial equilibrium in a single “urban system”; in other words there are people who could improve their welfare by moving to another city region in another country but constraints on mobility prevent them from doing so.

Keywords: Spatial Dependence; Urban System; National Border; Agglomeration Economy; City Region (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2009
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:spr:adspcp:978-3-642-01017-0_16

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DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-01017-0_16

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