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SERC/Urban and Spatial Programme Discussion Paper
Urban Growth Drivers in a Europe of Sticky People and Implicit Boundaries
Paul Cheshire and Stefano Magrini
November 2008
Paper No' SERCDP0010:
Full Paper (pdf)

JEL Classification: H41; H73; O18; R11; R50

Tags: growth; cities; local public goods; spatial adjustment; local economic growth

We investigate urban GDP pc growth across the EU12 using data for functionally defined cities - rather than administrative regions. We test hypotheses on the role of human capital, EU integration and fragmentation of urban government and explore spatial dependence and mechanisms of spatial interaction. Results are acceptable on standard econometric tests without measures of spatial interaction but there is spatial dependence. If variables reflecting spatial adjustment are included, they are statistically significant and eliminate spatial dependence. Not only do the results now provide consistent estimates of parameters, they also support relevant theoretical insights and show national borders are still significant barriers to economic adjustment. People in Europe are sticky so it is unreasonable to assume spatial disparities will disappear. Our findings also imply that cities in Europe form national rather than a single continental system.