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Aggregate Land Rents and Aggregate Transport Costs

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  • Richard J. Arnott
  • Joseph E. Stiglitz

Abstract

This paper explores the relationship between aggregate land rents and aggregate transport costs for land markets in which locations differ solely in terms of accessibility. That there exists a relationship between land rents and transport costs has been recognized at least since the time of von Thunen. The precise relationship between the two is, however, not generally well-understood. For instance, until quite recently it was considered correct to estimate the benefits from a transport improvement by the induced change in aggregate land rents at those locations where travel costs are reduced. This procedure can be shown to be correct only in very special circumstances. This paper presents a very general characterization of the relationship between aggregate land rents and aggregate transport costs. In some special cases, the relationship turns out to be remarkably simple: for a circular city with linear transport costs, aggregate transport costs are precisely twice aggregate land rents, independent of the distribution of tastes or income; for a linear city with linear transport costs, aggregate transport costs are equal to aggregate land rents. One corollary of our general analysis is that aggregate land rents may stay the same or actually fall in response to a transport improvement which makes everyone better off. In the first section we consider a simple example. The second derives the basic theorems of the paper, while the third examines their implications for the relationship between the benefits from a transport improvement and the change in aggregate land rents induced by the improvement. And in the fourth section, we examine the extent to which the theorems of section II generalize.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 0523.

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Date of creation: Jul 1980
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Publication status: published as Arnott, Richard J. and Stiglitz, Joseph E. "Aggregate Land Rents and Aggregate Transport Costs." The Economic Journal, Vol 91, (June 1981), pp. 331-34 7.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:0523

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  1. Arnott, Richard J & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1979. "Aggregate Land Rents, Expenditure on Public Goods, and Optimal City Size," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 93(4), pages 471-500, November.
  2. Getz, Malcolm, 1975. "A model of the impact of transportation investment on land rents," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 57-74, February.
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Cited by:
  1. Robert BICHSEL, 1999. "A Silver Rule for Financing Local Transport Facilities," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) 9902, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP.
  2. Volodymyr Bilotkach & Yuriy Gorodnichenko & Oleksandr Talavera, 2010. "Sensitivity of Prices to Demand Shocks: A Natural Experiment in the San Francisco Bay Area," University of East Anglia Applied and Financial Economics Working Paper Series 004, School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK..
  3. Rainald Borck & Matthias Wrede, 2008. "Subsidies for Intracity and Intercity Commuting," CESifo Working Paper Series 2321, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Sheppard, Stephen & Stover, Mark Edward, 1995. "The benefits of transport improvements in a city with efficient development control," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 211-222, April.
  5. Duranton, Gilles & Puga, Diego, 2014. "The Growth of Cities," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 5, pages 781-853 Elsevier.
  6. Jacoby, Hanan G. & Minten, Bart, 2009. "On measuring the benefits of lower transport costs," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(1), pages 28-38, May.
  7. Rainald Borck & Matthias Wrede, 2004. "Political Economy of Commuting Subsidies," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 445, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  8. Joseph E. Stiglitz, 1981. "Public Goods in Open Economies with Heterogeneous Individuals," NBER Working Papers 0802, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Borck, Rainald & Wrede, Matthias, 2008. "Commuting subsidies with two transport modes," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 841-848, May.
  10. Marvin Kraus, 2003. "Monocentric Cities," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 559, Boston College Department of Economics.
  11. Helsley, Robert, 2001. "An Essay on Urban Economic Theory: Yorgos Y. Papageorgiou and David Pines, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Norwell, Massachusetts, 1999, ISBN 0-7923-8343-5," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(5), pages 626-630, September.

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