The Annals of Regional Science

, Volume 50, Issue 3, pp 667–684 | Cite as

Thinking about economic growth: cities, networks, creativity and supply chains for ideas

  • Peter GordonEmail author
Original Paper


Discussions of economic growth require an examination of the role of cities. It is widely claimed that cities exist because they facilitate economic growth and development. Spatial concentrations reduce transactions costs. There are additional benefits gained as positive spillover effects are realized. The latter is especially important for the exchange of ideas. Creativity comes from new arrangements of thoughts and ideas. The thoughts of others facilitate new combinations of ideas. It is argued here that propitious spatial arrangements make both sets of benefits possible. These arrangements involve choices from a very large combinatorial set. The choice problem is too complex to entrust to models or planning agencies. Rather, flexible land markets are required. This paper is based on the author’s presidential address delivered at the February 2012 meetings of the Western Regional Science Association in Kauai, Hawaii.

JEL Classification

R11 R14 R5 


  1. Acemoglu D (2009) Introduction to modern economic growth. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  2. Andersson AE (2011) Creative people need creative cities. In: David EA, Andersson AE, Charlotta M (eds) David Emanuel Andersson. Edward Elgar, Handbook of Creative Cities Cheltenham. UKGoogle Scholar
  3. Coase R (1937) The nature of the firm. Economica 4(16):386–405CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Cummings JN, Kiesler S (2005) Collaborative research across disciplinary and organizational boundaries. Soc Stud Sci 35(5):703–722CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Diamandis PH, Kotler S (2012) Abundance: the future is better than you think. Free Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  6. Duggan WR (2010) Strategic intuition: east meets west in the executive mind. Clarendon Global Insights (first quarter), pp 10–14Google Scholar
  7. Ferguson N (2011) Civilization: the west and the rest. The Penguin Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  8. Florida R (2002) The rise of the creative class: and how it’s transforming work, leisure, community and everyday life. Basic Books, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  9. Glaeser E (2011) Cities are making us more human. The European In: Gordon P (forthcoming) (ed) “Spontaneous cities” in advances in Austrian economics: the spatial market process, David Emanuel Andersson
  10. Gordon P, Moore JE II (1989) Endogenizing the rise and fall of urban subcenters via discrete programing models. Environ Plan A 21(9):1195–1203CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gordon P, Ikeda S (2011) Does density matter? In: Andersson DE, Andersson AE, Mellander C (eds) Handbook of creative cities Cheltenham. Edward Elgar, UKGoogle Scholar
  12. Holcombe RG (2011) Cultivating creativity: market creation of agglomeration economies. In: Andersson DE, Andersson AE, Mellander C (eds) Handbook of creative cities Cheltenham. Edward Elgar, UKGoogle Scholar
  13. Ikeda S (forthcoming) Entrepreneurship in action space. In: Andersson DE (ed) Advances in Austrian economicsGoogle Scholar
  14. Jacobs J (1961) The death and life of Great American Cities. Vintage House, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  15. Johnson S (2010) Where good ideas come from: the natural history of innovation. Riverhead Books, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  16. Karlsson C (2011) Clusters, networks and creativity. In: Andersson DE, Andersson AE, Mellander C (eds) Handbook of creative cities Cheltenham. Edward Elgar, UKGoogle Scholar
  17. Kedrosky P (2011) Migration in America: vibrant flux. Forbes (Nov 16).
  18. Kohn NW, Smith SM (2011) Collaborative fixation: effects of others’ ideas on brainstorming. Appl Cogn Psychol 25(3):359–371CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kolenda R, Liu CY (2012) Are central cities more creative? The intra-metropolitan geography of creative industries. J Urban Affairs 00:1–25Google Scholar
  20. Landsburg S (2007) A brief history of economic time. Wall Street J (June 9):A8Google Scholar
  21. Landsburg S (2011) How the death tax hurts the poor. Wall Street J (October 29):A15Google Scholar
  22. Lee B (2006) Urban spatial structure and commuting in US metropolitan areas. In: Paper read at Western Regional Science Association 45th annual conference, February, at Santa Fe, New MexicoGoogle Scholar
  23. Lee B (2007) ‘Edge’ or ‘edgeless’ cities? Urban spatial structure in U.S. metropolitan areas, 1980 to 2000. J Regional Sci 47(3):479–515CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lin C-Y (forthcoming) Talent migration: does urban density matter? Los Angeles: University of Southern California, PhD DissertationGoogle Scholar
  25. Marshall A (1890) Principles of economics. Macmillan, LondonGoogle Scholar
  26. Nasr S (2011) The grand pursuit. Simon and Schuster, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  27. Postrel V (1998) The future and its enemies. The Free Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  28. Read LE (1958) I, pencil, my family tree as told to Leonard E. Read;
  29. Ridley M (2010) The rational optimist. Harper Collins, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  30. Romer PM (1994) Economic growth and investment in children. Daedalus 123(4):141–154Google Scholar
  31. Romer PM (2007) Economic growth. In: Henderson DM (ed) The concise Encyclopedia of economics. Library of American Liberty, IndianapolisGoogle Scholar
  32. Sowell T (2007) Basic economics: a common sense guide to the economy. Basic Books, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  33. Thwaites T (2011) The Toaster project. Princeton Architectural Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sol Price School of Public PolicyUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

Personalised recommendations