The Gambler’s Ruin of Small Cities

30th Dec 2017

The Gambler’s Ruin of Small Cities (Wonkish) 

Paul Kruger


I’m on vacation, keeping vague track of the news but basically taking a break and spending a lot of time communing with nature. But I’ve also been thinking a bit about economics, taking advantage of psychological distance to ruminate on stuff that isn’t closely connected to the news. And one of the areas I’ve been chewing over goes back to my old stomping ground of economic geography.

In particular, I’ve been trying to clarify my thoughts after reading Emily Badger’s stimulating piece on how megacities seem to have less and less need for smaller cities. I found myself asking what might seem like an odd question: what, in the modern economy, are small cities even for? What purpose do they serve? And this question leads me to a chain of thought that’s a bit different from Badger’s, although not necessarily contradictory.


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