Alex Marshall on cities

Here’s an analytic framework that’s almost surely wrong:

What do market economies have to do with cities?

Well, obviously cities are economic entities. To survive, a city or a region has to make money; it has to export more than it imports, in dollar terms. Cities that decline are on the losing side of this equation. So if you care about cities, which I do, it leads you to think about how they function as economic entities.

Alex Marshall’s new book doesn’t mention exports in the context of cities, so I don’t have a way to follow up on the logic underlying this claim. But trade surpluses are not at the heart of urban growth in any urban economics literature I’ve read.

[HT: Aaron Brown]