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Causes of Urban Sprawl in the United States: Auto reliance as compared to natural evolution, flight from blight, and local revenue reliance

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  • Robert W. Wassmer

    (California State University, Sacramento)

Abstract

This paper describes a statistical study of the contribution of theories previously offered by economists to explain differences in the degree of urban decentralization in the U.S. The focus is on a relative comparison of the influence of auto reliance. A regression analysis reveals that a 10 percent reduction in the percentage of households owning one or more autos would reduce the square mile size of an urban area by only 0.5 percent and raise its population density by only 0.7 percent. Factors falling under the categories of “natural evolution” and “flight from blight” exert a far greater magnitude of influence. For instance, a 10 percent reduction in per capita income would reduce the square mile size of an urban area by 11.4 percent and raise its population density by 10.1 percent, while a 10 percent decrease in the percentage central place(s) population poor would reduce the square mile size of an urban area by 2.6 percent and raise its population density by 1.7 percent. A significant increase in urban decentralization will require more than just reduced auto reliance. © 2008 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/pam.20355
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.

Volume (Year): 27 (2008)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 536-555

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Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:27:y:2008:i:3:p:536-555

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Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/34787/home

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  1. Michael P. Murray, 2006. "Avoiding Invalid Instruments and Coping with Weak Instruments," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 20(4), pages 111-132, Fall.
  2. Brueckner, Jan K & Kim, Hyun-A, 2003. "Urban Sprawl and the Property Tax," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, Springer, vol. 10(1), pages 5-23, January.
  3. Robert W. Wassmer, 2006. "The Influence of Local Urban Containment Policies and Statewide Growth Management on the Size of United States Urban Areas," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(1), pages 25-65.
  4. Paul G. Lewis, 2001. "Retail Politics: Local Sales Taxes and the Fiscalization of Land Use," Economic Development Quarterly, , vol. 15(1), pages 21-35, February.
  5. repec:fth:prinin:455 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Joshua Angrist & Alan Krueger, 2001. "Instrumental Variables and the Search for Identification: From Supply and Demand to Natural Experiments," Working Papers, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section. 834, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  7. Thomas J. Nechyba & Randall P. Walsh, 2004. "Urban Sprawl," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 18(4), pages 177-200, Fall.
  8. Peter Mieszkowski & Edwin S. Mills, 1993. "The Causes of Metropolitan Suburbanization," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 135-147, Summer.
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Cited by:
  1. Gautier, Pieter & Zenou, Yves, 2008. "Car Ownership and the Labor Market of Ethnic Minorities," IZA Discussion Papers 3814, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Cheung, Ron & Cunningham, Chris, 2011. "Who supports portable assessment caps: The role of lock-in, mobility and tax share," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 173-186, May.

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