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How can cities be viewed as examples of economies of scale?

Why are people and economic activity concentrated in cities, rather than distributed evenly across a country? The fundamental reason must be related to the idea of economies of scale—that grouping economic activity is more productive in many cases than spreading it out. For example, cities provide a large group of nearby customers, so that businesses can produce at an efficient economy of scale. They also provide a large group of workers and suppliers, so that business can hire easily and purchase whatever specialized inputs they need. Many of the attractions of cities, like sports stadiums and museums, can operate only if they can draw on a large nearby population base. Cities are big enough to offer a wide variety of products, which is what many shoppers are looking for.

These factors are not exactly economies of scale in the narrow sense of the production function of a single firm, but they are related to growth in the overall size of population and market in an area. Cities are sometimes called “agglomeration economies.”

These agglomeration factors help to explain why every economy, as it develops, has an increasing proportion of its population living in urban areas. In the United States, about 80% of the population now lives in metropolitan areas (which include the suburbs around cities), compared to just 40% in 1900. However, in poorer nations of the world, including much of Africa, the proportion of the population in urban areas is only about 30%. One of the great challenges for these countries as their economies grow will be to manage the growth of the great cities that will arise.

If cities offer economic advantages that are a form of economies of scale, then why don’t all or most people live in one giant city? At some point, agglomeration economies must turn into diseconomies. For example, traffic congestion may reach a point where the gains from being geographically nearby are counterbalanced by how long it takes to travel. High densities of people, cars, and factories can mean more garbage and air and water pollution. Facilities like parks or museums may become overcrowded. There may be economies of scale for negative activities like crime, because high densities of people and businesses, combined with the greater impersonality of cities, make it easier for illegal activities as well as legal ones. The future of cities, both in the United States and in other countries around the world, will be determined by their ability to benefit from the economies of agglomeration and to minimize or counterbalance the corresponding diseconomies.

A more common case is illustrated in [link] (b), where the LRAC curve has a flat-bottomed area of constant returns to scale. In this situation, any firm with a level of output between 5,000 and 20,000 will be able to produce at about the same level of average cost. Given that the market will demand one million dishwashers per year at a price of $500, this market might have as many as 200 producers (that is, one million dishwashers divided by firms making 5,000 each) or as few as 50 producers (one million dishwashers divided by firms making 20,000 each). The producers in this market will range in size from firms that make 5,000 units to firms that make 20,000 units. But firms that produce below 5,000 units or more than 20,000 will be unable to compete, because their average costs will be too high. Thus, if we see an industry where almost all plants are the same size, it is likely that the long-run average cost curve has a unique bottom point as in [link] (a). However, if the long-run average cost curve has a wide flat bottom like [link] (b), then firms of a variety of different sizes will be able to compete with each other.

Questions & Answers

Inflation is defined as the rise in price of a commodity.
Nureni Reply
It is defined as the rise in price of a commodity.
Nureni
the persistent rise in the prices of goods and services. or commodities.
SULEIMAN
pls the third and fourth law of supply
Yarouh
what's GDP?
Allen
gross domestic product
Annor
GDP stands for Gross Domestic Product
Sande
yes
HlobisileM
what us maxima and minima
MiXUP Reply
Maxima s below equilibrium. Whilst minima s above. Equilibrium
Afran
Wht is demand
Afran
is the willingness and the ability of a consumer to purchase goods at a given price and at a particular point in time.
Assan
Ohhk different question? Ask
Afran
why is the demand curve downwards sloppy?
Assan
3 Reasons.. 1... diminishing marginal utility 2... substitution effect 3...income effect
Harshita
thanks
Assan
Because of the negative or inverse relationship between price and quantity demanded
Afran
what is the law of diminishing returns states?
Assan
ohk
Assan
The law states that all other things being equall as much of variable factor(labour) is employed on fixed factor(land) the marginal product rises..attain a maximum and begins to fall.
Afran
What is income elasticity of demand
Afran
what is monetary policy
Edward
Monetary policy is an attempt to influence the economy by opera ting in such monetary variables
Afran
thanks
Edward
Wlcm
Afran
Wht is disutility?
Afran
is disutility? is rightly writing?
Yhlas
is it i wanna say
Yhlas
Yes please Disutility
Afran
what is macro economics?
Oyas
the branch of economics concerned with large-scale or general economic factors, such as interest rates and national productivity.
idk
in other words it is the study of the economic as a whole
idk
What is an Economic growth
Ayumo Reply
Economic growth is the process whereby the real per capita income of an economy increases over a long period of time.
Nureni
what is the generally accepted defination of economics and by who
IDY Reply
Economics is defined by Lionel Robbins as a social science which studies human behaviour as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses
Tba
Importance of economic
Achike Reply
Helps in decision making
MP
I need like 5 importance
Achike
hi
Physcal
Hey
Muhammad
hellow dear.
juwel
hello
Al-ameen
Hello
MP
it helps an individual in rational decision making process
Assan
Fine and u
Buzabaryaho
how does it make individual in rational dicision making decisions
Annor
if an individual is faced with unlimited wants.
Assan
it also helps an individual in arranging their wants in order of their importance.
Assan
ohk
Annor
ok
Al-ameen
Hello guys
Radah
My name is Radah
Radah
Please what is a scale of preference used for?
Radah
it's use for arranging wants in order of their importance.
Assan
in other words when an individual is faced with unlimited wants,scale of preference would help the individual to select the most important wants.
Assan
Thanks
Radah
welcome
Assan
what is tourism
forgive Reply
Tourism is travel for pleasure or business
Yusuf
It is the commercial organization and operation of holidays and visits to places of interest.
Nureni
who is a price taker?
sam Reply
A price taker is a person or a company who have no control to dictate a prices of a goods or services
Unique
Someone who sets price
Nureni
In the trading world, a price taker is a trader who does not affect the price of the stock if he or she buys or sells shares.
Nureni
A price taker refers to a firm or an individual who sets the price of his good and services based on an external factor. In other words he cannot choose and set a price by himself. An example is a firm operating in perfect competition where prices are set through the price mechanism.
Tba
in a common and suitable sense state the law of diminishing returns
Unique Reply
The higher the satisfaction derived from a particular commodity,the lower the demand for it but that law doesn't match in some instances.
Nureni
state the features of an imperfect competitive market
Naomi
@NURENI instance like wat
Unique
imperfect competitive market involves large number of sellers and buyers price makers selling cost product differentiation free entry and exit of a firms
Unique
is economics a science
Alex Reply
yes. a social science.
Carlos
Yes of cause It uses scientific principles in its research. That is to say, analyzing data, making experiment as well as making deductions and drawing conclusions
Aziz
U can understand the scientific nature of economics by learning about the methods used by Abhijit Banerjee(indian) ,the nobel prize laureate 2019.
Harshita
it is considered as a social science
idk
Hence, economics is a science, a social science many can call it, or more appropriately, a young science
Taha
it can be called social science because of behaviour ,which is unpredictable.There r many theroies in economics which make economics a social science But some economic theories makes it science
Harshita
human behaviour*
Harshita
remember science derives from the root words "to know". With that being said most fields of study can be considered as a science or soft science, for they possess key knowledge to attaining understanding of our world.
Alexander
economics is a science cos it deals with human wants, desire or neads in order to satisfy them
Unique
according comparision of political science economic is science.
Hassan
what's the question?
Nureni Reply
question is answering for something to someone
Suheb
Discuss economics system
Henry Reply
discuss institutional system
Henry
Give 3 at most advantages and disadvantages of economics system and institutional syatem
Henry
Give the features characteristics of market or free enterprise
Henry
The structure of an economy is largely determined by the economic system which is a function of the economic ideology of the nation
Nureni
The economic system is grouped into 5 groups: 1: Pure market 2: Developed market 3: Centrally planned or Socialist 4: Mixed market and 5: Market Socialist Economic systems
Nureni
what is inflation
Prince Reply
Inflation is a sustained and general rise in the price of all goods and services of an economy
Tba
hello everyone , I'm New here, third degree price discrimination?
Saeed Reply
2nd degree price discrimination?
Saeed
hi
Kini
hi
Mitchel
Hi
MP
price paid by consumers after the sales tax is called?
Pinias Reply
why government impose price floor on certain products?
Pinias
how can black market be occurred when price ceiling is introduced?
Pinias
How can inflation affect goods and services?
Ph
When prices rise for energy, food, commodities, and other goods and services, the entire economy is affected
Joan
If inflation becomes too high the economy can suffer conversely, if inflation is controlled and at reasonable levels, the economy may prosper. With controlled, lower inflation, employment increases.
Joan
Is it necessary to make decision when it fails you
Evelin Reply
Pls when what fails u
MP
I think so
Kini
well i might naught know what you on about but i gotta tell you, it is necessary
Troy
yep
Ibe
Kk
MP
yep
Ibe
good afternoon guy my name is sneh these any of you can do mathematics
HlobisileM
help me
HlobisileM
Yes I do
Sande
What help can we offer you.
Wahab
in analytical geometry
HlobisileM
chapter
HlobisileM
how to get the coordinates
HlobisileM
hello guys am Abdulai how is everyone doing
Abdulai
good evening guys
Alex
a(1,:3)b(t,0)c(p,-4)and corrdinate p
HlobisileM
pls send e mathematics question
Nti
it has a drawing i can not send photos
HlobisileM
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Nti
yesl
kafui
how you send a photo
HlobisileM
hello guys how are u all doing am Belinda
kafui
welcome Doh
Michael
Tnx
kafui
yes..
Ray
Hello guys, what is damping
parheez
It is Dumping not Damping It is defined as selling goods in a foreign country at a price which local producers regard as unfairly low.
Nureni
damping is a place of drop rubbish
Praise
any other ideas
Abdiweli
Dumping is whereby another country takes its unwanted goods (rejects) and sell them in another country.
tafadzwa

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Source:  OpenStax, Principles of economics. OpenStax CNX. Sep 19, 2014 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11613/1.11
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