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A Quantitative Analysis of Suburbanization and the Diffusion of the Automobile

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  • Karen A. Kopecky

    (Department of Economics, The University of Western Ontario)

  • Richard M. H. Suen

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of California Riverside)

Abstract

Suburbanization in the U.S. between 1910 and 1970 was concurrent with the rapid diffusion of the automobile. A circular city model is developed in order to access quantitatively the contribution of automobiles and rising incomes to suburbanization. The model incorporates a number of driving forces of suburbanization and car adoption, including falling automobile prices, rising real incomes, changing costs of traveling by car and with public transportation, and urban population growth. According to the model, 60 percent of postwar (1940-1970) suburbanization can be explained by these factors. Rising real incomes and falling automobile prices are shown to be the key drivers of suburbanization.

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File URL: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/13258/1/MPRA_paper_13258.pdf
File Function: First version, 2009
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of California at Riverside, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 200901.

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Length: 52 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2009
Date of revision: Jan 2009
Handle: RePEc:ucr:wpaper:200901

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Keywords: automobile; suburbanization; population density gradients; technological progress;

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References

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  1. Edward L. Glaeser & Matthew E. Kahn, 2003. "Sprawl and Urban Growth," NBER Working Papers 9733, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Glaeser, Edward L. & Kahn, Matthew E. & Rappaport, Jordan, 2008. "Why do the poor live in cities The role of public transportation," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 1-24, January.
  3. Mills, Edwin S. & Price, Richard, 1984. "Metropolitan suburbanization and central city problems," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 1-17, January.
  4. Nathaniel Baum-Snow, 2007. "Did Highways Cause Suburbanization?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(2), pages 775-805, 05.
  5. Julie Berry Cullen & Steven D. Levitt, 1996. "Crime, Urban Flight, and the Consequences for Cities," NBER Working Papers 5737, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. White, Michelle J., 1976. "Firm suburbanization and urban subcenters," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 323-343, October.
  7. McDonald, John F., 1989. "Econometric studies of urban population density: A survey," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 361-385, November.
  8. Robert E. Lucas & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2002. "On the Internal Structure of Cities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(4), pages 1445-1476, July.
  9. Edwin S. Mills & Luan Sende Lubuele, 1997. "Inner Cities," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(2), pages 727-756, June.
  10. LeRoy, Stephen F. & Sonstelie, Jon, 1983. "Paradise lost and regained: Transportation innovation, income, and residential location," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 67-89, January.
  11. Chatterjee, Satyajit & Carlino, Gerald A., 2001. "Aggregate metropolitan employment growth and the deconcentration of metropolitan employment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 549-583, December.
  12. Baum-Snow, Nathaniel, 2007. "Suburbanization and transportation in the monocentric model," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(3), pages 405-423, November.
  13. Peter Mieszkowski & Edwin S. Mills, 1993. "The Causes of Metropolitan Suburbanization," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 135-147, Summer.
  14. Bradford, David F & Kelejian, Harry H, 1973. "An Econometric Model of the Flight to the Suburbs," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 566-89, May-June.
  15. Margo, Robert A., 1992. "Explaining the postwar suburbanization of population in the United States: The role of income," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 301-310, May.
  16. Leah Platt Boustan, 2010. "Was Postwar Suburbanization "White Flight"? Evidence from the Black Migration," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 125(1), pages 417-443, February.
  17. Fujita, Masahisa & Ogawa, Hideaki, 1982. "Multiple equilibria and structural transition of non-monocentric urban configurations," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 161-196, May.
  18. Melville J. Ulmer, 1960. "Capital in Transportation, Communications, and Public Utilities: Its Formation and Financing," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number ulme60-1, July.
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Cited by:
  1. Robert A. Margo & Leah Platt Boustan, 2011. "White Suburbanization And African-American Home Ownership, 1940-1980," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2011-024, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  2. Boustan, Leah Platt, 2013. "Local public goods and the demand for high-income municipalities," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 71-82.
  3. Goulden, Murray & Ryley, Tim & Dingwall, Robert, 2014. "Beyond ‘predict and provide’: UK transport, the growth paradigm and climate change," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 139-147.
  4. David Lagakos, 2009. "Superstores or mom and pops? Technolgy adoption and productivity differences in retail trade," Staff Report 428, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.

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