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Employment Deconcentration: A New Perspective on America’s Postwar Urban Evolution

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In this study we show that during the postwar era the United States experienced a decline in the share of urban employment accounted for by the relatively dense metropolitan areas and a corresponding rise in the share of relatively less dense ones. This trend, which we call employment deconcentration, is distinct from the other well–known regional trend, namely, the postwar movement of jobs and people from the frostbelt to the sunbelt. We also show that deconcentration has been accompanied by a similar trend within metropolitan areas, wherein employment share of the more dense sections of MSAs has declined and that of the less dense sections risen. We provide a general equilibrium model with density–driven congestion costs to suggest an explanation for employment deconcentration.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia

Publication date: 2002-08-01

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