The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Monocentric Versus Polycentric Models in Urban Economics

  • Tomoya Mori
Reference work entry


This article overviews the development of the formal modelling framework for the urban spatial structure which started in 1960s and grew dramatically thereafter. Modelling in the 1970s focused on the endogenous formation of the central business district within a city. Then richer polycentric city models were developed in 1980s, where the number, location and spatial extent of the business districts are determined endogenously. The emergence of the new economic geography in 1990s provided a framework capable of explaining the spatial distribution of cities (rather than the business districts within a city) and their industrial structure in a general location- equilibrium model.


Urban economics, monocentric versus polycentric models in Spatial impossibility theorem Urban agglomeration Monopolistic competition New economic geography Central business district 

JEL Classifications

R12 R13 R14 R23 R30 
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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tomoya Mori
    • 1
  1. 1.