DP12001 Who gets the urban surplus?
|Author(s):||Paul Collier, Anthony Venables|
|Publication Date:||April 2017|
|Keyword(s):||cities, Land rent, productivity, sorting, wages|
|JEL(s):||R1, R10, R2|
|Programme Areas:||International Trade and Regional Economics|
|Link to this Page:||cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=12001|
High productivity in cities creates an economic surplus relative to other areas. How is this divided between workers and land-owners? Simple models with homogenous labour suggest that it accrues largely - or entirely - in the form of land-rents. This paper shows that heterogeneity of labour in two main dimensions (productivity differentials and housing demands) radically changes this result. Even a modest amount of heterogeneity can drive the land share of surplus down to 2/3rds or lower, as high productivity and/or low housing demand individuals receive large utility gains. In a system of cities the sorting of workers across cities mean that the land-rent share of surplus is lowest in the largest and most productive cities.