Michel Serafinelli, 17 October 2017

The productivity benefits of similar firms locating near one another are well accepted, but there is little agreement on how knowledge spillovers have local effects. This column presents evidence from Italy of how firm-to-firm labour mobility enhances the productivity of firms located near other, highly productive firms. The main finding is that the recruitment of workers with experience at good firms significantly increases the productivity of the firms hiring them.

Keisuke Kondo, 23 July 2017

The large literature on agglomeration economies attests to the higher average productivity of firms in larger cities. However, this literature focuses on positive externalities, and a second potential mechanism – selection against less productive firms – has received little empirical attention. This column explores how these two mechanisms contribute to higher productivity in Japanese cities. Consistent with earlier work considering the case of France, no evidence for a selection effect is found.

Pierre-Philippe Combes, Sylvie Démurger, Li Shi, 17 February 2013

This paper evaluates the role that cities play on individual productivity in China. The authors' results strongly support the productivity gains that can be expected from further migration and urbanisation in China.

Marc Flandreau, 23 July 2008

Will the dollar lose its place as the premier international currency? This column argues that the previous episode of dethroning, in which the dollar overtook the pound, suggests that economic fundamentals, rather than network externalities, drive the choice of a great global currency. Occasionally, it takes an economic historian to remind his economist colleagues that history may not matter as much as one would want to believe.

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