Frédéric Robert-Nicoud

amse seminar

Frédéric Robert-Nicoud

University of Lausanne
The optimal distribution of population across cities
Joint with
David Albouy, Kristian Behrens, Nathan Seegert

VC Cinéma le Miroir

Centre de la Vieille-Charité - Cinéma le Miroir

Centre de la Vieille Charité
2 rue de la Charité
13002 Marseille

Monday, March 13 2017| 2:30pm to 4:00pm

Timothée Demont: timothee.demont[at]
Roberta Ziparo: rziparo[at]


We upend the received economic wisdom that cities are too big. This wisdom assumes that city sites are homogeneous, migration is unfettered, land is given to incoming migrants, and federal taxes are neutral. In a more general city system with heterogeneous sites, we demonstrate that cities may be inefficiently small with local governments or unrestricted migration. A quantitative simulation suggests that cities may be too numerous, with the best sites underpopulated, for a wide range of parameter values that resemble developed countries. Welfare costs from free migration equilibria appear small, whereas they appear substantial when local governments control city size.