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Rethinking Detroit

Author

Listed:
  • Raymond Owens III
  • Esteban Rossi-Hansberg
  • Pierre-Daniel Sarte

Abstract

This paper studies the urban structure of Detroit—one that is clearly not optimal for its size—which features a business district immediately surrounded by largely vacant neighborhoods. A model is presented where residential externalities lead to multiple equilibria at the neighborhood level. Specifically, neighborhood development requires the coordination of developers and residents, without which it may remain vacant even with sound fundamentals. Given this mechanism, existing strategic visions to revitalize Detroit are evaluated within a quantitative spatial model that can rationalize Detroit's current allocations. Alternative plans that rely on "development guarantees" are also considered and shown to yield better outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Raymond Owens III & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg & Pierre-Daniel Sarte, 2020. "Rethinking Detroit," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 258-305, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:12:y:2020:i:2:p:258-305
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/pol.20180651
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Veronica Guerrieri & Daniel Hartley & Erik Hurst, 2012. "Within-City Variation in Urban Decline: The Case of Detroit," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(3), pages 120-126, May.
    2. 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.
    3. Esteban Rossi-Hansberg & Pierre-Daniel Sarte & Raymond Owens, 2010. "Housing Externalities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(3), pages 485-535, June.
    4. Victor Couture & Jessie Handbury, 2017. "Urban Revival in America, 2000 to 2010," NBER Working Papers 24084, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Keith Head & John Ries, 2001. "Increasing Returns versus National Product Differentiation as an Explanation for the Pattern of U.S.-Canada Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 858-876, September.
    6. Edward L. Glaeser & Joseph Gyourko, 2005. "Urban Decline and Durable Housing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(2), pages 345-375, April.
    7. Douglas W. Diamond & Philip H. Dybvig, 2000. "Bank runs, deposit insurance, and liquidity," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, vol. 24(Win), pages 14-23.
    8. Matthew R. Graham & Mark J. Kutzbach & Brian McKenzie, 2014. "Design Comparison of LODES and ACS Commuting Data Products," Working Papers 14-38, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    9. Gabriel M. Ahlfeldt & Daniel P. McMillen, 2015. "The Vertical City: The Price of Land and the Height of Buildings in Chicago 1870-2010," SERC Discussion Papers 0180, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
    10. 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.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Akamatsu, Takashi & Mori, Tomoya & Osawa, Minoru & Takayama, Yuki, 2017. "Spatial scale of agglomeration and dispersion: Theoretical foundations and empirical implications," MPRA Paper 80689, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Pierre-Daniel G. Sarte & Sonya Ravindranath Waddell, "undated". "From Stylized to Quantitative Spatial Models of Cities," Economic Quarterly 00047, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
    3. Stephen Smith, 2018. "Development Economics Meets the Challenges of Lagging U.S. Areas: Applications to Education, Health and Nutrition, Behavior, and Infrastructure," Working Papers 2018-7, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population
    • R32 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Other Spatial Production and Pricing Analysis
    • R58 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - Regional Development Planning and Policy

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