Carbon dioxide emissions may create significant social harm because of global warming, yet American urban development tends to be in low density areas with very hot summers. In this paper, we attempt to quantify the carbon dioxide emissions associated with new construction in different locations across the country. We look at emissions from driving, public transit, home heating, and household electricity usage. We find that the lowest emissions areas are generally in California and that the highest emissions areas are in Texas and Oklahoma. There is a strong negative association between emissions and land use regulations. By restricting new development, the cleanest areas of the country would seem to be pushing new development towards places with higher emissions. Cities generally have significantly lower emissions than suburban areas, and the city-suburb gap is particularly large in older areas, like New York.
Spatial wage disparities can result from spatial differences in the skill composition of the workforce, in non-human endowments, and in local interactions. To distinguish between these explanations, we estimate a model of wage determination across local labour markets using a very large panel of French workers. We control for worker characteristics, worker fixed effects, industry fixed effects, and the characteristics of the local labour market. Our findings suggest that individual skills account for a large fraction of existing spatial wage disparities with strong evidence of spatial sorting by skills. Interaction effects are mostly driven by the local density of employment. Not controlling for worker heterogeneity leads to very biased estimates of interaction effects. Endowments only appear to play a small role.
Like many other assets, housing prices are quite volatile relative to observable changes in fundamentals. If we are going to understand boom-bust housing cycles, we must incorporate housing supply. In this paper, we present a simple model of housing bubbles that predicts that places with more elastic housing supply have fewer and shorter bubbles, with smaller price increases. However, the welfare consequences of bubbles may actually be higher in more elastic places because those places will overbuild more in response to a bubble. The data show that the price run-ups of the 1980s were almost exclusively experienced in cities where housing supply is more inelastic. More elastic places had slightly larger increases in building during that period. Over the past five years, a modest number of more elastic places also experienced large price booms, but as the model suggests, these booms seem to have been quite short. Prices are already moving back towards construction costs in those areas.
We specify and estimate a joint model of residential density, vehicle use, and fuel consumption that accounts for both self selection effects and missing data that are related to the endogenous variables. Our model is estimated on the California subsample of the 2001 U.S. National Household Travel Survey (NHTS). Comparing two California households that are similar in all respects except residential density, a lower density of 1000 housing units per square mile (roughly 40% of the weighted sample average) implies an increase of 1200 miles driven per year (4.8%) and 65 more gallons of fuel used per household (5.5%). This total effect of residential density on fuel usage is decomposed into two paths of influence. Increased mileage leads to a difference of 45 gallons, but there is an additional direct effect of density through lower fleet fuel economy of 20 gallons per year, a result of vehicle type choice.
Although previous research shows that prices of homes in neighborhoods with foreclosures are lower than those in neighborhoods without foreclosures, it remains unclear whether the lower prices are the result of a general decline in neighborhood values or whether foreclosures reduce the prices of nearby non-distressed sales through a contagion effect. We provide robust evidence of a contagion discount by simultaneously estimating the local price trend and the incremental price impact of nearby foreclosures. At its peak, the discount is roughly 1% per nearby foreclosed property. The discount diminishes rapidly as the distance to the distressed property increases. The contagion discount grows from the onset of distress through the foreclosure sale and then stabilizes. This pattern is consistent with the contagion effect being the visual externality associated with deferred maintenance and neglect.
The past thirty years have seen a dramatic decline in the rate of income convergence across states and in population flows to high-income places. These changes coincide with a disproportionate increase in housing prices in high-income places, a divergence in the skill-specific returns to moving to high-income places, and a redirection of low-skill migration away from high-income places. We develop a model in which rising housing prices in high-income areas deter low-skill migration and slow income convergence. Using a new panel measure of housing supply regulations, we demonstrate the importance of this channel in the data.
The mortgage foreclosure crisis has generated increasing concerns about the effects of foreclosed properties on their surrounding neighborhoods, and on criminal activity in particular. There are a number of potential ways in which a foreclosed property might increase the payoffs to committing crime and decrease the likelihood of being caught, including reduced maintenance, residential turnover, and vacancy. Using point-specific, longitudinal crime, foreclosure, and other property data from New York City, this paper determines whether foreclosed properties affect criminal activity on the surrounding blockface – an individual street segment including properties on both sides of the street. We find that additional foreclosures on a blockface lead to additional total crimes, violent crimes and public order crimes. These effects appear to be largest when foreclosure activity is measured by the number of foreclosed properties that are on their way to an auction or have reverted to bank ownership. We find that effects are largest in neighborhoods with moderate or high levels of crime, and on blockfaces with concentrated foreclosure activity.
China is experiencing urbanization at an unprecedented rate over the last two decades. The overall goal of this paper is to understand the extent of and the factors driving urban expansion in China from the late 1980s to 2000. We use a unique three-period panel data set of high-resolution satellite imagery data and socioeconomic data for entire area of coterminous China. Consistent with a number of the key hypotheses generated by the monocentric model, our results demonstrate the powerful role that the growth of income has played in China's urban expansion. In some empirical models, the other key variables in the monocentric model—population, the value of agricultural land and transportation costs—also matter. Adapting the basic empirical model to account for the environment in developing countries, we also find that industrialization and the rise of the service sector appear to have affected the growth of the urban core, but their role was relatively small when compared to the direct effects of economic growth. We also make a methodological contribution, demonstrating the potential importance of accounting for unobserved fixed effects.
More than 19 percent of people in American central cities are poor. In suburbs, just 7.5 percent of people live in poverty. The income elasticity of demand for land is too low for urban poverty to come from wealthy individuals' wanting to live where land is cheap (the traditional explanation of urban poverty). A significant income elasticity for land exists only because the rich eschew apartment living, and that elasticity is still too low to explain the poor's urbanization. The urbanization of poverty comes mainly from better access to public transportation in central cities.
First generation fiscal federalism (FGFF) studies the performance of decentralized systems under the assumption of benevolent social planners. Second generation fiscal federalism (SGFF) studies performance based on the fiscal and political incentives facing subnational officials. The paper focuses on three aspects of SGFF. First, it considers the design of intergovernmental transfers. While FGFF emphasizes correcting vertical and horizontal equity, SGFF emphasizes the importance of fiscal incentives for producing local economic prosperity. SGFF extends FGFF approaches by showing how non-linear transfer systems can produce both equalization and high marginal fiscal incentives to produce local economic growth. Second, the paper raises the fiscal incentive approach, showing how different tax systems produce different fiscal incentives for political officials to choose policies. Third, the paper discusses the interaction of democracy and fiscal federalism.
This paper analyzes empirically the effect of spatial agglomeration of activities on plant-level productivity, using French firm and plant-level data from 1996 to 2004. We exploit short-run variations of variables by making use of GMM estimation. This allows us to control for endogeneity biases that the estimation of agglomeration economies typically encounters. This means that our paper focuses on a subset of agglomeration economies, the short-run ones. Our results show that French plants benefit from localization economies, but we find very little – if any – evidence of urbanization economies. We also show that those localization benefits are relatively well internalized by firms in their location choice: we find very little difference between the geography that would maximize productivity gains in the short-run and the geography actually observed.
Do households move for jobs or fun, and where do they go when they move? We address these questions using the 1970–2000 US Census. Based on a panel of quality of life and business environment measures, households prefer MSAs in warm coastal areas and non-metropolitan locations, while firms prefer large, growing cities. In addition, cities with improving business environments acquire increasing shares of workers, especially workers with high levels of human capital; cities with improving consumer amenities become relatively more populated by retirees. Further analysis of individual level migration decisions indicates that regardless of marital status, young, highly educated households tend to move towards places with higher quality business environments. This tendency is especially pronounced among highly educated couples who are more subject to job market co-location problems. In contrast, regardless of education, couples near retirement tend to move away from places with favorable business environments and towards places with highly valued consumer amenities. These patterns help explain why areas unattractive to both households and business have struggled, as with upstate New York, while the sun-belt and other regions are thriving.
Over the past 30 years, eastern Massachusetts has seen a remarkable combination of rising home prices and declining supply of new homes, which doesn't appear to reflect any lack of land. In this paper, we examine the increasing number of land-use regulations in Greater Boston. These regulations vary widely over space, and are hard to predict with any variables other than historical density levels. Minimum lot size and other land use controls are associated with reductions in new construction activity. These regulations are associated with higher prices when we do not control for contemporary density and demographics, but not when we add these contemporaneous controls. These results are compatible with economic theory, which predicts that production restraints on a good won't increase the price of that good relative to sufficiently close substitutes. Current density levels appear to be too low to maximize local land values.
Data for all producers of automobiles and integrated circuits on their origins, base location, and performance are used to analyze the factors behind the historical clustering of the two industries in Detroit and Silicon Valley, respectively. Key ideas concerning organizational reproduction and heredity are elaborated and used to explain how spinoffs from incumbent firms in the same industry can lead to clustering. Findings concerning the spawning of spinoffs, entry by firms in related industries, and firm performance suggest that organizational reproduction and heredity were the primary forces underlying the clustering of the two industries.
► The paper provides a method for modelling spatial and temporal diffusion. ► London proves to be a dominant region for understanding house prices in the UK. ► But New York house prices are also informative about London house prices. This paper provides a method for the analysis of the spatial and temporal diffusion of shocks in a dynamic system. We use changes in real house prices within the UK economy at the level of regions to illustrate its use. Adjustment to shocks involves both a region specific and a spatial effect. Shocks to a dominant region – London – are propagated contemporaneously and spatially to other regions. They in turn impact on other regions with a delay. We allow for lagged effects to echo back to the dominant region. London in turn is influenced by international developments through its link to New York and other financial centers. It is shown that New York house prices have a direct effect on London house prices. We analyse the effect of shocks using generalised spatio-temporal impulse responses. These highlight the diffusion of shocks both over time (as with the conventional impulse responses) and over space.
This paper uses 2000 Census data to estimate the relationship of agglomeration and proximity to human capital to wages. The paper takes a geographic approach, and focuses on the attenuation of agglomeration and human capital effects. Differencing and instrumental variable methods are employed to address endogeneity in the wage–agglomeration relationship and also to deal with measurement error in our agglomeration and human capital variables. Three key results are obtained. First, the spatial concentration of employment within five miles is positively related to wage. Second, the benefits of spatial concentration are driven by proximity to college educated workers, an instance of human capital spillovers. Third, these effects attenuate sharply with distance.
Are the well-known facts about urbanization in the United States also true for the developing world? We compare American metropolitan areas with analogous geographic units in Brazil, China and India. Both Gibrat’s Law and Zipf’s Law seem to hold as well in Brazil as in the U.S., but China and India look quite different. In Brazil and China, the implications of the spatial equilibrium hypothesis, the central organizing idea of urban economics, are not rejected. The India data, however, repeatedly rejects tests inspired by the spatial equilibrium assumption. One hypothesis is that spatial equilibrium only emerges with economic development, as markets replace social relationships and as human capital spreads more widely. In all four countries there is strong evidence of agglomeration economies and human capital externalities. The correlation between density and earnings is stronger in both China and India than in the U.S., strongest in China. In India the gap between urban and rural wages is huge, but the correlation between city size and earnings is more modest. The cross-sectional relationship between area-level skills and both earnings and area-level growth are also stronger in the developing world than in the U.S. The forces that drive urban success seem similar in the rich and poor world, even if limited migration and difficult housing markets make it harder for a spatial equilibrium to develop.
This paper studies inter- and intramodal competition in the London–Paris passenger market during the period 2003–2009. We identify the degree to and conditions under which High-Speed Rail is a viable substitute for airline travel. Using pooled cross-sectional data we estimate multinomial and mixed logit models to examine actual travel behaviour. Our model allows us to analyse the reaction of passenger behaviour on the withdrawal of aviation alternatives and the completion of the High-Speed Rail link between the two cities in November 2007. The results show that travel time and frequency are the main determinants of travel behaviour. The valuation of total travel times changes over the years following the opening of the High-Speed Rail link. Furthermore, we show that the direct elasticity of market share with respect to frequency for a number of aviation alternatives is above 1, indicating that these alternatives are not able to maximise profits. These alternatives subsequently left the market in our sample period. For the remaining aviation alternatives, except for easyJet, we find elasticities of market share with respect to frequency close to 1. Therefore, we conjecture that competition in this market will decline in the long run.
"The development prospects of a poor country or region depend in part on its capacity for innovation. In turn, the productivity of its innovators, whom are often concentrated around urban centers, depends on their access to technological knowledge. The emigration of highly skilled individuals weakens local knowledge networks (brain drain) but may also help remaining innovators access valuable knowledge accumulated abroad (brain bank). We develop a model in which the size of the optimal innovator Diaspora depends on the competing strengths of co-location and Diaspora effects for accessing knowledge. Then, using patent citation data associated with inventions from India, we estimate the key co-location and Diaspora parameters. The net effect of innovator emigration is to harm domestic knowledge access, on average. However, knowledge access conferred by the Diaspora is particularly valuable in the production of India's most important inventions as measured by citations received. Thus, our findings imply that the optimal emigration level may depend, at least partly, on the relative value resulting from the most cited compared to average inventions." Die Untersuchung enthält quantitative Daten. Forschungsmethode: empirisch; Sekundäranalyse. Die Untersuchung bezieht sich auf den Zeitraum 1981 bis 2000. (author's abstract, IAB-Doku).
This paper evaluates, in the context of economic geography estimates, the magnitude of the distortions arising from the choice of a specific zoning system, which is also known as the Modifiable Areal Unit Problem (MAUP). We undertake three standard economic geography exercises (the analysis of spatial concentration, agglomeration economies, and trade determinants), using various French zoning systems differentiated according to the size and shape of their spatial units. While size might matter, especially when the dependent variable of a regression is not aggregated in the same way as the explanatory variables and/or the zoning system involves large spatial units, shape does so much less. In any case, both dimensions are of secondary importance compared to specification issues.