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

  • Paul CheshireEmail author
  • Stefano Magrini
Part of the Advances in Spatial Science book series (ADVSPATIAL)


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.


Spatial Dependence Urban System National Border Agglomeration Economy City Region 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Audretsch DB (1998) Agglomeration and the location of innovative activity. Oxford Rev Econ Policy 14(2):18–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barro RJ (1990) Government spending in a simple model of endogenous growth. J Polit Econ 98:S103–S125CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barro RJ, Sala-i-Martin X (1991) Convergence across states and regions. Brooking Pap Econ Activ 1:107–182CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barro RJ, Sala-i-Martin X (1992) Convergence. J Polit Econ 100(2):223–251CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Barro RJ, Sala-i-Martin X (1995) Economic growth. McGraw-Hill, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  6. Cheshire PC (1995) Convergence/divergence in regional growth rates: an empty black box. In: Armstrong HW, Vickerman RW (eds) Convergence and divergence among European regions. Pion, London, pp 89–111Google Scholar
  7. Cheshire PC, Carbonaro G (1996) European urban economic growth: testing theory and policy prescriptions. Urban Stud 33(7):1111–1128CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cheshire PC, Gordon IR (1996) Territorial competition and the logic of collective (in)action. Int J Urban Reg Res 20:383–399CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cheshire PC, Hay DG (1989) Urban problems in Western Europe: an economic analysis. Unwin Hyman, LondonGoogle Scholar
  10. Cheshire PC, Magrini S (2006a) Population growth in European cities: weather matters – but only nationally. Reg Stud 40(1):23–37CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cheshire PC, Magrini S (2006b) European Urban growth: now for some problems of spaceless and weightless econometrics. Paper given to 46th Congress of the European Regional Science Association, Volos, GreeceGoogle Scholar
  12. Cheshire P, Sheppard S (1995) On the price of land and the value of amenities. Economica 62(246):247–267CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Clark C, Wilson F, Bradley J (1969) Industrial location and economic potential in Western Europe. Reg Stud 3:197–212CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Costa DL, Kahn ME (2000) Power couples: changes in the locational choice of the college educated, 1940–1990. Q J Econ 115(4):1287–1315CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Fujita M, Krugman P, Venables A (1999) The spatial economy. MIT, Cambridge MAGoogle Scholar
  16. Glaeser EL, Scheinkman JA, Shleifer A (1995) Economic growth in a cross-section of cities. J Monet Econ 36:117–143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gordon I, Lamont D (1982) A model of labor-market interdependencies in the London region. Environ Plann A 14:238–264Google Scholar
  18. Gyourko J, Kahn M, Tracy J (1999) Quality of life and environmental comparisons. In: Cheshire PC, Mills E (eds) Handbook of regional and urban economics, 3: applied urban economics. North Holland, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  19. Hendry DF, Krolzig HM (2001) Automated econometric model selection using PcGets. Timberlake Consultants, LondonGoogle Scholar
  20. Hendry DF, Krolzig HM (2004) We ran one regression. Oxford Bull Econ Stat 66(5):799–810CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Keeble D, Offord J, Walker S (1988) Peripheral regions in a community of twelve member states. Office of Official Publications, LuxembourgGoogle Scholar
  22. Magrini S (1998) Modelling regional economic growth: the role of human capital and innovation. Ph.D. Thesis, London School of EconomicsGoogle Scholar
  23. Midelfart KH, Overman HG (2002) Delocation and European integration: is European structural spending justified. Econ Policy 35:321–359CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Morrison PS (2005) Unemployment and urban labor markets. Urban Stud 42(12):2261–2288CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Oates WE (1999) An essay on fiscal federalism. J Econ Lit 37(3):1120–1149Google Scholar
  26. Roback J (1982) Wages, rents, and the quality of life. J Polit Econ 90:1257–1278CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Rodriguez-Pose A, Fratesi U (2004) Between development and social policies: the impact of European structural funds in objective 1 regions. Reg Stud 38(1):97–113CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Thurston L, Yezer AMJ (1994) Causality in the suburbanization of population and employment. J Urban Econ 35(1):105–118CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Geography & Environment DepartmentLondon School of EconomicsLondonUnited Kingdom
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Scienze EconomicheUniversity of VeniceCannaregioItaly

Personalised recommendations