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The Rise of the Sunbelt

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  • Edward L. Glaeser
  • Kristina Tobio

Abstract

In the last 50 years, population and incomes have increased steadily throughout much of the Sunbelt. This paper assesses the relative contributions of rising productivity, rising demand for Southern amenities and increases in housing supply to the growth of warm areas, using data on income, housing price and population growth. Before 1980, economic productivity increased significantly in warmer areas and drove the population growth in those places. Since 1980, productivity growth has been more modest, but housing supply growth has been enormous. We infer that new construction in warm regions represents a growth in supply, rather than demand, from the fact that prices are generally falling relative to the rest of the country. The relatively slow pace of housing price growth in the Sunbelt, relative to the rest of the country and relative to income growth, also implies that there has been no increase in the willingness to pay for sun-related amenities. As such, it seems that the growth of the Sunbelt has little to do with the sun.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13071.

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Date of creation: Apr 2007
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Publication status: published as Edward L. Glaeser & Kristina Tobio, 2008. "The Rise of the Sunbelt," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 610-643, January.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13071

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  1. Chinitz, Benjamin, 1986. "The Regional Transformation of the American Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 300-303, May.
  2. Besley, Timothy J. & Persson, Torsten & Sturm, Daniel M, 2005. "Political Competition and Economic Performance: Theory and Evidence from the United States," CEPR Discussion Papers 5138, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Edward L. Glaeser & Joseph Gyourko & Raven E. Saks, 2005. "Urban Growth and Housing Supply," NBER Working Papers 11097, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Mueser Peter R. & Graves Philip E., 1995. "Examining the Role of Economic Opportunity and Amenities in Explaining Population Redistribution," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 176-200, March.
  5. Wright, Gavin, 1987. "The Economic Revolution in the American South," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 161-78, Summer.
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Cited by:
  1. Edward L. Glaeser & Joshua D. Gottlieb, 2009. "The Wealth of Cities: Agglomeration Economies and Spatial Equilibrium in the United States," NBER Working Papers 14806, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. David Albouy, 2008. "Are Big Cities Bad Places to Live? Estimating Quality of Life across Metropolitan Areas," NBER Working Papers 14472, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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  1. Historical Economic Geography

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