Population growth and its distribution between cities: Positive and normative aspects

Yossi Hadar, David Pines*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper investigates positive and normative aspects of population distribution among cities when aggregate population is growing. On the positive level, the paper investigates how different allocation regimes, on the one hand, and different elasticities of substitution between housing and differentiated products, on the other, affect the characteristics of city-size distribution. On the normative level, the paper investigates the potential sources of market failures and their policy implications. It is shown that the sources of market failures are rent-sharing externality, price markup, and multiple equilibria. Because of the latter, a straightforward elimination of the rent-sharing externality and the price markup may reduce welfare even below its achievable level under laissez-faire allocation. It depends on the stage of the aggregate population growth at the time when the policy is introduced (i.e., history matters). When the social planner is fully informed, a transfer scheme which induces the economy to convergence to the global optima can be designed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-154
Number of pages30
JournalRegional Science and Urban Economics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2004


  • Concentration
  • Dispersion
  • Market failure
  • Population growth


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