Document Type

Unpublished Paper

Publication Date


Publication Title

American Political Science Association Annual Meeting


globalization, global city, economic development, income inequality, polarization, technology, innovation, sustainability, employment structure, immigration, metropolitan, urban policy


Growth and Development | Inequality and Stratification | International Economics


Inequality in metropolitan areas is part of a paradoxical triangle of competing motives over resources allocation. Chief among inequality/equity rivals is the penchant for urban economic development, but in recent decades, ecological sustainability has also become increasingly important in this triangle. To understand inequality in global cities in such a context, one must recognize the intensity of economic development motives for those particular metropolitan areas seeking to maintain worldwide centrality, connectivity and command over the forces of globalization. As a comparative analysis of 53 large U.S. metropolitan areas, this paper examines the apparatus of a global city in response to globalization, particularly since such metropolitan areas produce higher socioeconomic inequality than other places. Through a causal path analysis, it empirically uncovers essential components of the paradoxical triangle in the ongoing struggle of global cities to sustain their world-city status. In so doing, the evidence suggests heightened inequality is a function of (a) the global city’s use of certain “cornerstone” resources to sustain global advantage, and (b) its resultant polarized employment structure and commensurate skewed social stratification.