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Firm Sorting and Agglomeration

Cecile Gaubert

No 24478, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

Abstract: The distribution of firms in space is far from uniform. Some locations host the most productive large firms, while others barely attract any. In this paper, I study the sorting of heterogeneous firms across locations and analyze policies designed to attract firms to particular regions (place-based policies). I first propose a theory of the distribution of heterogeneous firms in a variety of sectors across cities. Aggregate TFP and welfare depend on the extent of agglomeration externalities produced in cities and on how heterogeneous firms sort across them. The distribution of city sizes and the sorting patterns of firms are uniquely determined in equilibrium. This allows me to structurally estimate the model, using French firm-level data. I find that nearly half of the observed productivity advantage of large cities is due to firm sorting. I use the estimated model to quantify the general equilibrium effects of place-based policies. I find that policies that decrease local congestion lead to a new spatial equilibrium with higher aggregate TFP and welfare. In contrast, policies that subsidize under-developed areas have negative aggregate effects.

JEL-codes: F11 R10 R30 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-geo, nep-sbm and nep-ure
Date: 2018-04
Note: ITI
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (5) Track citations by RSS feed

Published as Cecile Gaubert, 2018. "Firm Sorting and Agglomeration," American Economic Review, vol 108(11), pages 3117-3153.

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