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Stochastic stability of agglomeration patterns in an urban retail model

Minoru Osawa (), Takashi Akamatsu and Yosuke Kogure

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Abstract: We consider a model of urban spatial structure proposed by Harris and Wilson (Environment and Planning A, 1978). The model consists of fast dynamics, which represent spatial interactions between locations by the entropy-maximizing principle, and slow dynamics, which represent the evolution of the spatial distribution of local factors that facilitate such spatial interactions. One known limitation of the Harris and Wilson model is that it can have multiple locally stable equilibria, leading to a dependence of predictions on the initial state. To overcome this, we employ equilibrium refinement by stochastic stability. We build on the fact that the model is a large-population potential game and that stochastically stable states in a potential game correspond to global potential maximizers. Unlike local stability under deterministic dynamics, the stochastic stability approach allows a unique and unambiguous prediction for urban spatial configurations. We show that, in the most likely spatial configuration, the number of retail agglomerations decreases either when shopping costs for consumers decrease or when the strength of agglomerative effects increases.

Date: 2020-11
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-geo, nep-gth and nep-ure
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