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Urban Population and Amenities

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  • David Albouy
  • Bryan Stuart
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    Abstract

    We use a neoclassical general-equilibrium model to explain cross-metro variation in population density based on three broad amenity types: quality of life, productivity in tradables, and productivity in non-tradables. Analytically, we demonstrate the dependence of quantities on amenities through substitution possibilities in consumption and production. Our model clarifies the nature of commonly estimated elasticities of local labor supply and demand. From only differences in wages and housing costs, we explain half of the observed variation in density, especially through quality of life. We show that density information can provide or refine measures of land value and local productivity.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19919.

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    Date of creation: Feb 2014
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    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19919

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    1. Che-Lin Su & Kenneth L. Judd, 2008. "Constrainted Optimization Approaches to Estimation of Structural Models," Discussion Papers, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science 1460, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
    2. Jesse M. Shapiro, 2006. "Smart Cities: Quality of Life, Productivity, and the Growth Effects of Human Capital," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(2), pages 324-335, May.
    3. Gerke Hoogstra & Jouke Van Dijk & Raymond J.G.M. Florax, 2005. "Do jobs follow people or people follow jobs? A meta-analysis of Carlino-Mills studies," ERSA conference papers ersa05p737, European Regional Science Association.
    4. Edward L. Glaeser & Joseph Gyourko, . "Urban Decline and Durable Housing," Zell/Lurie Center Working Papers 382, Wharton School Samuel Zell and Robert Lurie Real Estate Center, University of Pennsylvania.
    5. David Card, 1996. "Immigrant Inflows, Native Outflows, and the Local Labor Market Impacts of Higher Immigration," Working Papers 747, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
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    7. Jaffe, A.B. & Trajtenberg, M., 1992. "Geographic Localization of Knowledge Spillovers as Evidenced by Patent Citations," Papers, Tel Aviv 14-92, Tel Aviv.
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    9. Matias Busso & Jesse Gregory & Patrick M. Kline, 2010. "Assessing the Incidence and Efficiency of a Prominent Place Based Policy," NBER Working Papers 16096, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Kenneth Y. Chay & Michael Greenstone, 2005. "Does Air Quality Matter? Evidence from the Housing Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(2), pages 376-424, April.
    11. Thorsnes, Paul, 1997. "Consistent Estimates of the Elasticity of Substitution between Land and Non-Land Inputs in the Production of Housing," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 98-108, July.
    12. 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.
    13. McDonald, John F., 1981. "Capital-land substitution in urban housing: A survey of empirical estimates," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 190-211, March.
    14. Edward L. Glaeser & Joseph Gyourko & Raven E. Saks, 2006. "Urban growth and housing supply," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(1), pages 71-89, January.
    15. David Albouy, 2009. "What Are Cities Worth? Land Rents, Local Productivity, and the Capitalization of Amenity Values," NBER Working Papers 14981, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Albert Saiz, 2010. "The Geographic Determinants of Housing Supply," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 125(3), pages 1253-1296, August.
    17. Saks, Raven E., 2008. "Job creation and housing construction: Constraints on metropolitan area employment growth," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 178-195, July.
    18. David Albouy & Gabriel Ehrlich, 2012. "Metropolitan Land Values and Housing Productivity," NBER Working Papers 18110, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Daniel Feenberg & Elisabeth Coutts, 1993. "An introduction to the TAXSIM model," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(1), pages 189-194.
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