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Geography in Reduced Form

Oren Ziv

Working Papers from U.S. Census Bureau, Center for Economic Studies

Abstract: Geography models have introduced and estimated a set of competing explanations for the persistent relationships between firm and location characteristics, but cannot identify these forces. I introduce a solution method for models in arbitrary geographies that generates reduced-form predictions and tests to identify forces acting through geographic linkages. This theoretical approach creates a new strategy for spatial empirics. Using the correct observables, the model shows that geographic forces can be taken into account without being directly estimated; establishment and employment density emerge as sufficient statistics for all geographic forces. I present two applications. First, the model can be used to evaluate whether geographic linkages matter and when simplified models suffice: the mono-centric model is a good fit for business services firms but cannot capture the geography of manufactures. Second, the model generates reduced-form tests that distinguish between spillovers and firm sorting and finds evidence of sorting.

New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-geo and nep-ure
Date: 2017-01
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