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CESifo Working Paper No. 6738
Center for Economic Studies and ifo Institute (CESifo), Munich
In this paper, we study how local border reforms affect economic activity. To do so, we make use of large-scale municipal merger reforms in Germany to assess the effect of local border changes on the distribution of activity in space, an issue that has not been addressed in existing literature. To allow for a comparison of economic activity within unique geographical units over time, we use geo-coded light data as well as local land-use data. Adopting a difference-in-differences approach, we find evidence that municipalities absorbing their merger partners and hosting the new administrative center experience a significant increase in local activity, while the municipalities that are being absorbed and are losing the administrative center experience a decrease in such activity. The difference between the gains in activity from absorbing municipalities and the losses from absorbed ones appears positive. These hitherto undocumented results point to the importance of distance to the administrative center as a determinant of the spatial distribution of economic activity.
border effects
centripetal forces
nightlight data
administrative center
municipal mergers
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Working Paper
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