Defining urban clusters to detect agglomeration economies

Clémentine Cottineau, Olivier Finance, Erez Hatna, Elsa Arcaute, Michael Batty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Agglomeration economies are a persistent subject of debate in regional science and city planning. Their definition turns on whether or not larger cities are more efficient than smaller ones. Here, we complement existing discussions on agglomeration economies by providing a sensitivity analysis of estimated externalities to the definitions of urban agglomeration. We regress wages versus population and jobs over thousands of different definitions of cities in France, based on an algorithmic aggregation of spatial units. We also search for evidence of larger inequalities in larger cities. This paper therefore focuses on the spatial and economic complexity of the mechanisms defining agglomeration within and between cities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1611-1626
Number of pages16
JournalEnvironment and Planning B: Urban Analytics and City Science
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019


  • Agglomeration economies
  • cities
  • definition
  • inequality
  • scaling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Architecture
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Urban Studies
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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