IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/aea/aecrev/v110y2020i8p2377-2421.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Cities in Bad Shape: Urban Geometry in India

Author

Listed:
  • Mariaflavia Harari

Abstract

The spatial layout of cities is an important feature of urban form, highlighted by urban planners but overlooked by economists. This paper investigates the causal economic implications of city shape in India. I measure cities' geometric properties over time using satellite imagery and historical maps. I develop an instrument for urban shape based on geographic obstacles encountered by expanding cities. Compact city shape is associated with faster population growth and households display positive willingness to pay for more compact layouts. Transit accessibility is an important channel. Land use regulations can contribute to deteriorating city shape.

Suggested Citation

  • Mariaflavia Harari, 2020. "Cities in Bad Shape: Urban Geometry in India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 110(8), pages 2377-2421, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:110:y:2020:i:8:p:2377-2421
    DOI: 10.1257/aer.20171673
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.aeaweb.org/doi/10.1257/aer.20171673
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: https://doi.org/10.3886/E116003V1
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: https://www.aeaweb.org/doi/10.1257/aer.20171673.appx
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: https://www.aeaweb.org/doi/10.1257/aer.20171673.ds
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to AEA members and institutional subscribers.

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1257/aer.20171673?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Hemanshu Kumar & Rohini Somanathan, 2009. "Mapping Indian Districts Across Census Years, 1971-2001," Working papers 176, Centre for Development Economics, Delhi School of Economics.
    2. Kaivan Munshi & Mark Rosenzweig, 2016. "Networks and Misallocation: Insurance, Migration, and the Rural-Urban Wage Gap," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(1), pages 46-98, January.
    3. Michael Greenstone & Rema Hanna, 2014. "Environmental Regulations, Air and Water Pollution, and Infant Mortality in India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(10), pages 3038-3072, October.
    4. Lakshmi Iyer, 2010. "Direct versus Indirect Colonial Rule in India: Long-Term Consequences," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(4), pages 693-713, November.
    5. Achyuta Adhvaryu & A. V. Chari & Siddharth Sharma, 2013. "Firing Costs and Flexibility: Evidence from Firms' Employment Responses to Shocks in India," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(3), pages 725-740, July.
    6. Moretti, Enrico, 2011. "Local Labor Markets," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 14, pages 1237-1313, Elsevier.
    7. Bertaud, Alain & Brueckner, Jan K., 2005. "Analyzing building-height restrictions: predicted impacts and welfare costs," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 109-125, March.
    8. Gabriel M. Ahlfeldt & Stephen J. Redding & Daniel M. Sturm & Nikolaus Wolf, 2015. "The Economics of Density: Evidence From the Berlin Wall," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 83, pages 2127-2189, November.
    9. Morris A. Davis & Francois Ortalo-Magne, 2011. "Household Expenditures, Wages, Rents," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 14(2), pages 248-261, April.
    10. Glaeser, Edward L., 2008. "Cities, Agglomeration, and Spatial Equilibrium," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199290444, November.
    11. McMillen, Daniel P. & Smith, Stefani C., 2003. "The number of subcenters in large urban areas," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 321-338, May.
    12. Barr, Jason & Tassier, Troy & Trendafilov, Rossen, 2011. "Depth to Bedrock and the Formation of the Manhattan Skyline, 1890–1915," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 71(4), pages 1060-1077, December.
    13. Brueckner, Jan K., 1987. "The structure of urban equilibria: A unified treatment of the muth-mills model," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: E. S. Mills (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 20, pages 821-845, Elsevier.
    14. Neeraj G Baruah & J Vernon Henderson & Cong Peng, 2021. "Colonial legacies: Shaping African cities [The consequences of radical reform: the French Revolution]," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(1), pages 29-65.
    15. McMillen, Daniel P., 2001. "Nonparametric Employment Subcenter Identification," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 448-473, November.
    16. Nathaniel Baum-Snow, 2007. "Did Highways Cause Suburbanization?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(2), pages 775-805.
    17. Chauvin, Juan Pablo & Glaeser, Edward & Ma, Yueran & Tobio, Kristina, 2017. "What is different about urbanization in rich and poor countries? Cities in Brazil, China, India and the United States," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 17-49.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Ahlfeldt, Gabriel M. & Barr, Jason, 2022. "The economics of skyscrapers: A synthesis," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 129(C).
    2. Jedwab, Remi & Loungani, Prakash & Yezer, Anthony, 2021. "Comparing cities in developed and developing countries: Population, land area, building height and crowding," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(C).
    3. Joan Monras, 2020. "Immigration and Wage Dynamics: Evidence from the Mexican Peso Crisis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 128(8), pages 3017-3089.
    4. Duranton, Gilles & Puga, Diego, 2014. "The Growth of Cities," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 5, pages 781-853, Elsevier.
    5. Remi Jedwab & Anthony Yezer & Mr. Prakash Loungani, 2019. "How Should We Measure City Size? Theory and Evidence Within and Across Rich and Poor Countries," IMF Working Papers 2019/203, International Monetary Fund.
    6. Federico Curci & Federico Masera, 2018. "Flight from urban blight: lead poisoning, crime and suburbanization," Working Papers 2018/09, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    7. Rivera-Padilla, Alberto, 2021. "Slums, allocation of talent, and barriers to urbanization," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 140(C).
    8. Ahlfeldt, Gabriel M. & Barr, Jason, 2022. "Viewing urban spatial history from tall buildings," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(C).
    9. Duranton, Gilles & Puga, Diego, 2015. "Urban Land Use," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: Gilles Duranton & J. V. Henderson & William C. Strange (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 0, pages 467-560, Elsevier.
    10. Joan Monras, 2020. "Immigration and Wage Dynamics: Evidence from the Mexican Peso Crisis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 128(8), pages 3017-3089.
    11. Stephan Heblich & Stephen J Redding & Daniel M Sturm, 2020. "The Making of the Modern Metropolis: Evidence from London," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 135(4), pages 2059-2133.
    12. Redding, Stephen J., 2016. "Goods trade, factor mobility and welfare," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 148-167.
    13. Dascher, Kristof, 2019. "Function Follows Form," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 131-140.
    14. Monras, Joan, 2015. "Economic Shocks and Internal Migration," IZA Discussion Papers 8840, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    15. Gollin, Douglas & Kirchberger, Martina & Lagakos, David, 2017. "In Search of a Spatial Equilibrium in the Developing World," CEPR Discussion Papers 12114, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    16. Sevrin Waights, 2019. "The preservation of historic districts—is it worth it?," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(2), pages 433-464.
    17. Ahlfeldt, Gabriel M. & Pietrostefani, Elisabetta, 2019. "The economic effects of density: A synthesis," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 93-107.
    18. Brooks, Leah & Gendron-Carrier, Nicolas & Rua, Gisela, 2021. "The local impact of containerization," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 126(C).
    19. Redding, Stephen J. & Turner, Matthew A., 2015. "Transportation Costs and the Spatial Organization of Economic Activity," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: Gilles Duranton & J. V. Henderson & William C. Strange (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 0, pages 1339-1398, Elsevier.
    20. Garcia-López, Miquel-Àngel, 2010. "Population suburbanization in Barcelona, 1991-2005: Is its spatial structure changing?," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 119-132, June.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • R14 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Land Use Patterns
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population
    • R52 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - Land Use and Other Regulations
    • R58 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - Regional Development Planning and Policy

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:110:y:2020:i:8:p:2377-2421. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/aeaaaea.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Michael P. Albert (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/aeaaaea.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.