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These capital cities have the greatest economic clout

In the United States, Washington D.C. is the 20th largest city in terms of population.

A busy Tokyo suburb. Picture: Pixabay.com

In many countries, the capital city is the beating heat of the entire economy.

That's probably hardly surprising, given that a capital is usually the most populous city in a country, as well as the centre of a nation's political and economic ambitions.

There are exceptions, however, and some cities rely on their capital's economic clout far more than others. The latest edition of the OECD's Cities at a Glance report revealed that capital cities account for 26% of GDP on average in OECD member countries.

In the United States, Washington DC is the 20th largest city in terms of population. Given that rank, it only accounts for 0.7% of American GDP. Things are somewhat similar in Australia where the capital Canberra trails Sydney and Melbourne by a considerable distance in population. In 2016, Sydney accounted for 38.6% of Australian GDP while Canberra's contribution was 2.2%.

In many of Asia's economic powerhouses, the effect of the capital is felt more strongly. For example, Seoul accounts for nearly half of South Korean GDP while Tokyo's contribution in Japan is 32.3% The capital is also crucial to many European economies with Athens a notable example which accounted for 47.9% of Greek GDP in 2016.

Written by Niall McCarthy.

This article was republished courtesy of the World Economic Forum.

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