On the number and size of cities

Takatoshi Tabuchi, Jacques François Thisse, Dao Zhi Zeng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


We study the effects of a decrease in inter-city transport costs on the spatial distribution of population in a multi-regional economy, when a rise in the regional population generates higher urban costs. Holding the number of cities constant, as transport costs are reduced gradually from a very high level to a very low level, there is a first phase in which large cities grow while small cities shrink, a second phase in which both large and small cities grow while medium size cities shrink, and a third phase in which large cities shrink while small cities grow. Furthermore, when the number of cities is allowed to vary as transport costs are reduced from large to small values, it first decreases and then increases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)423-448
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Economic Geography
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Aug


  • Agglomeration
  • Muti-regional systems
  • Transport costs
  • Urban costs


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