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Determinants of Residential Location Choice: How Important Are Local Public Goods in Attracting Homeowners to Central City Locations?

  • Isaac Bayoh
  • Elena G. Irwin
  • Timothy Haab

A hybrid conditional logit choice model is estimated using data on the characteristics and destination of homeowners who engaged in intrametropolitan moves among 17 school districts within the Columbus, Ohio area in 1995. The model is used to test the relative influence of local fiscal and public goods versus household-level characteristics in determining household location choices across central city and suburban school districts. Results provide evidence of both a "natural evolution" of households to the suburbs, due to job location, residential filtering, and household income and lifecycle effects, and "flight from blight," due to lower school quality, higher crime levels, and lower average income levels in the city. In comparing the magnitudes of these variables, we find that school quality exerts the strongest influence: a 1-percent increase in the school quality of the city district increases the probability of choosing a city residence by 3.7 percent. In contrast, the effects of household income and other individual characteristics are relatively modest. The findings provide support for a "flight from blight" suburbanization process that is dominated by differences in neighborhood quality between the city and suburbs. An implication is that investments that promote central city development and reduce suburbanization are justified on efficiency grounds if negative externalities are generated by increased concentration of poverty, crime, and low school quality. Copyright Blackwell Publishers, 2006

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Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Journal of Regional Science.

Volume (Year): 46 (2006)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 97-120

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Handle: RePEc:bla:jregsc:v:46:y:2006:i:1:p:97-120
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