, Volume 46, Issue 3, pp 601-620

Agglomeration and productivity: evidence from firm-level data

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Abstract

Do agglomerations stimulate productivity? An extensive literature on agglomeration economies, or urban increasing returns, has analyzed this question with aggregated spatial data. This paper estimates the relationship between agglomeration and productivity at the firm level using static and dynamic models. It makes use of a rich dataset comprising register information on all manufacturing firms in Sweden with 10 or more employees over the period 1997–2004. Three things emerge. First, firms located in larger regions are more productive when controlling for size, human capital, physical capital, ownership structure, import and export, industry classification, and time trend. Second, results from dynamic panel estimations suggests a learning effect in that agglomeration enhances firms’ productivity. Third, the role of agglomeration phenomena does not seem to have a clear coupling to firm size.