I work on issues related to technological change and innovation. Most recent research projects study the emergence and spatial concentration of new technologies using historical data on patent activity, the identification of the challenges and opportunities for technological development in developing economies, and the effect of disruptive technologies the economy.

Just Published

Complex Economic Activities Concentrate in Large Cities

(with Pierre-Alexandre Balland, Cristian Jara-Figueroa, Mathieu Steijn, David Rigby, and César A. Hidalgo)


Why do some economic activities agglomerate more than others? And, why does the agglomeration of some economic activities continue to increase despite recent developments in communication and transportation technologies? In this paper, we present evidence that complex economic activities concentrate more in large cities. We find this to be true for technologies, scientific publications, industries, and occupations. Using historical patent data, we show that the urban concentration of complex economic activities has been continuously increasing since 1850. These findings suggest that the increasing urban concentration of jobs and innovation might be a consequence of the growing complexity of the economy.

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