Urbanization and structural transformation

Type Working Paper
Title Urbanization and structural transformation
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2008
URL http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/25495/1/Urbanisation_and_Structural_Transformation.pdf
This paper presents new evidence on urbanization using sub-county data for the United States
from 1880-2000 and municipality data for Brazil from 1970-2000. We show that the two
central stylized features of population growth for cities – Gibrat’s Law and a stable
population distribution - are strongly rejected when both rural and urban areas are considered.
Population growth exhibits a U-shaped relationship with initial population density, and only
becomes uncorrelated with initial population density at the high densities found in
predominantly urban areas. We provide evidence that the explanation for these patterns lies in
different employment growth dynamics in the agricultural and non-agricultural sectors and
the process of structural transformation away from the agricultural sector.

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