NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

From Sectoral to Functional Urban Specialization

Gilles Duranton, Diego Puga

NBER Working Paper No. 9112
Issued in August 2002
NBER Program(s):   ITI

Striking evidence is presented of a previously unremarked transformation of urban structure from mainly sectoral to mainly functional specialization. We offer an explanation showing that this transformation is inextricably interrelated with changes in firms' organization. A greater variety of business services for headquarters and of sector-specific intermediates for production plants within a city reduces costs, while congestion increases with city size. A fall in the costs of remote management leads to a transformation of the equilibrium urban and industrial structure. Cities shift from specializing by sector -- with integrated headquarters and plants -- to specializing mainly by function -- with headquarters and business services clustered in larger cities, and plants clustered in smaller cities.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w9112

Published: Duranton, Gilles and Diego Puga. "From Sectoral To Functional Urban Specialisation," Journal of Urban Economics, 2005, v57(2,Mar), 343-370.

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