Intraurban Accessibility and Employment Density

Recent working paper:

This study investigates the relationship between urban accessibility and firm agglomeration, as reflected in patterns of urban employment densities. We use measures of accessibility derived from the regional highway network, combined with small-scale (Census block-level) data on employment from the Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics (LEHD) data set to generate proxies for different sources of agglomeration, specifically urbanization and localization economies. These variables are employed in a set of employment density regressions for 20 two-digit NAICS code sectors to identify the propensity of each sector to agglomerate in response to varying levels of accessibility. The density regressions are applied to sample data from the Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota (Twin Cities) metropolitan region for the years 2000 and 2010. We find that in general urbanization effects tend to overshadow those of localization effects. Moreover, these effects tend to vary by sector, with many service-based sectors showing a stronger propensity to agglomerate than manufacturing and several “basic” sectors like agriculture, mining and utilities.