DP12257 A Long-Run Perspective on the Spatial Concentration of Manufacturing Industries in the United States

Author(s): Nicholas Crafts, Alex Klein
Publication Date: August 2017
Keyword(s): manufacturing belt, spatial concentration, transport costs
JEL(s): N62, N92, R12
Programme Areas: Economic History
Link to this Page: www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=12257

We construct spatially-weighted indices of the geographic concentration of U.S. manufacturing industries during the period 1880 to 1997 using data from the Census of Manufactures and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Several important new results emerge from this exercise. First, we find that average spatial concentration was much lower in the late-20th- than the late-19th century and that this was the outcome of a continuing reduction over time. Second, the persistent tendency to greater spatial dispersion was characteristic of most manufacturing industries. Third, even so, economically and statistically significant spatial concentration was pervasive throughout this period.