Communications and urban economies

John Michael Tofflemire, University of Pennsylvania


This dissertation addresses the impacts of telecommunications on urban economies. Topics include: an empirical estimation of regional-level telecommunication external economies, theoretical explorations of telecommunication external economy effects on urban size and optimal telecommunication pricing policy and communication effects on land-use patterns and firm location. Chapter 1 gives an overview of the dissertation. Chapter 2 argues that industrial-era city growth resulted, in part, from the development of electronic communications. Telecommunication's role in economic development and urban/rural disparities in telecommunication penetration rates are also presented. Chapter 3 empirically estimates regional-level telecommunication external economies. This was accomplished by estimating prefectural production functions for Japanese manufacturing industries. The results suggest an association between communication usage levels, extraprefectural contact levels and manufacturing productivity. Chapters 4 and 5 theoretically examine telecommunication external economy effects on telecommunication penetration rates, urban size and socially optimal telecommunication pricing. Chapter 4 uses a city systems model in which telecommunication external economies result from the city's telecommunication network size. Results suggest that telecommunication external economies can explain urban/rural telecommunication penetration rate differentials. Chapter 5 alters this model by assuming that external communication economies result from the city's communication contact level. Results suggest that penetration rate differences may result either from city-size external economies, from communication external economies or both, that city size increases with an increase in communication external economies and that the presence of telecommunication external economies requires departing from marginal-cost pricing to maximize city-resident utilities. Chapter 6 uses a discrete spatial framework to analyze the effect of communication among and within firms on urban land-use patterns. Nash equilibrium land-use configurations of households and firms are calculated using a computer simulation. Results suggest that commuting and locational correspondence patterns in the discrete setting may be the same as those in a density analysis.

Subject Area

Economics|Urban planning|Area planning & development|Mass media

Recommended Citation

Tofflemire, John Michael, "Communications and urban economies" (1992). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI9235210.