More Density in Cities

DENSITY isn’t a magic elixir. One can’t create wealth just by crowding people together; otherwise the super-dense metropolitan areas in emerging Asian countries would be richer than American cities. Density simply facilitates interaction. Interactions translate into wealth when a population is educated and local institutions support private enterprise and entrepreneurship.

via One Path to Better Jobs – More Density in Cities –


  1. Much of the economic activity of the world's great cities is generated by the migration of wealth created elsewhere. This was just as true of the great maritime powers centuries ago as it is of trust fund Manhattan. Great city-states are not built on cappuchino and Web design. Does Ryan Avent get this? Does Richard Florida?

  2. How great are the benefits of density? Economists studying cities routinely find that after controlling for other variables, workers in denser places earn higher wages and are more productive. Some studies suggest that doubling density raises productivity by around 6 percent while others peg the impact at up to 28 percent. Some economists have concluded that more than half the variation in output per worker across the United States can be explained by density alone; density explains more of the productivity gap across states than education levels or industry concentrations or tax policies.


  1. […] Paul Kedrosky: More Density in Cities […]