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Subways and urban growth: Evidence from earth

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  • Gonzalez-Navarro, Marco
  • Turner, Matthew A.

Abstract

We investigate the relationship between the extent of a city’s subway network, its population and its spatial configuration. For the 632 largest cities in the world we construct panel data describing population, measures of centralization calculated from lights at night data, and the extent of each of the 138 subway systems in these cities. These data indicate that large cities are more likely to have subways but that subways have an economically insignificant effect on urban population growth. Our data also indicate that subways cause cities to decentralize, although the effect is smaller than previously documented effects of highways on decentralization. For a subset of subway cities we observe panel data describing subway and bus ridership. For those cities we find that a 10% increase in subway extent causes about a 6% increase in subway ridership and has no effect on bus ridership.

Suggested Citation

  • Gonzalez-Navarro, Marco & Turner, Matthew A., 2018. "Subways and urban growth: Evidence from earth," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 85-106.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:juecon:v:108:y:2018:i:c:p:85-106
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jue.2018.09.002
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Redding, Stephen J. & Turner, Matthew A., 2015. "Transportation Costs and the Spatial Organization of Economic Activity," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, Elsevier.
    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.
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    4. Gilles Duranton & Matthew A. Turner, 2011. "The Fundamental Law of Road Congestion: Evidence from US Cities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(6), pages 2616-2652, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Heblich, Stephan & Redding, Stephen J. & Sturm, Daniel M, 2018. "The Making of the Modern Metropolis: Evidence from London," CEPR Discussion Papers 13170, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Mayer, Thierry & Trevien, Corentin, 2017. "The impact of urban public transportation evidence from the Paris region," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 1-21.
    3. Nicolas Gendron-Carrier & Marco Gonzalez-Navarro & Stefano Polloni & Matthew A. Turner, 2018. "Subways and Urban Air Pollution," NBER Working Papers 24183, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Gregor Pfeifer & Fabian Wahl & Martyna Marczak, 2018. "Illuminating the World Cup effect: Night lights evidence from South Africa," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(5), pages 887-920, November.
    5. Mayer, Thierry & Trevien, Corentin, 2017. "The impact of urban public transportation evidence from the Paris region," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 1-21.
    6. Mitnik, Oscar A. & Sanchez, Raul & Yanez-Pagans, Patricia, 2018. "Bright Investments: Measuring the Impact of Transport Infrastructure Using Luminosity Data in Haiti," IZA Discussion Papers 12018, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. repec:kap:enreec:v:69:y:2018:i:3:d:10.1007_s10640-017-0213-9 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Carillo, Mario Francesco, 2018. "Agricultural policy and long-run development: evidence from Mussolini's Battle for Grain," MPRA Paper 88941, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Rainald Borck, 2017. "Public Transport and Urban Pollution," CESifo Working Paper Series 6606, CESifo Group Munich.
    10. Martinez, Sebastian & Sanchez, Raul & Yañez, Patricia, 2019. "Getting a Lift: The Impact of Aerial Cable Cars in La Paz Bolivia," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 36, Inter-American Development Bank.
    11. Avner,Paolo & Mehndiratta,Shomik Raj & Viguie,Vincent & Hallegatte,Stephane & Avner,Paolo & Mehndiratta,Shomik Raj & Viguie,Vincent & Hallegatte,Stephane, 2017. "Buses, houses or cash ? socio-economic, spatial and environmental consequences of reforming public transport subsidies in Buenos Aires," Policy Research Working Paper Series 8166, The World Bank.
    12. Seungwoo Chin & Matthew E. Kahn & Hyungsik Roger Moon, 2017. "Estimating the Gains from New Rail Transit Investment: A Machine Learning Tree Approach," NBER Working Papers 23326, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Braun, Sebastian Till & Franke, Richard, 2019. "Railways, Growth, and Industrialisation in a Developing German Economy, 1829-1910," MPRA Paper 93644, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    14. Yanez-Pagans, Patricia & Martinez, Daniel & Mitnik, Oscar A. & Scholl, Lynn & Vazquez, Antonia, 2018. "Urban Transport Systems in Latin America and the Caribbean: Challenges and Lessons Learned," IZA Discussion Papers 11812, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Subways; Public transit; Urban growth; Urban decentralization;

    JEL classification:

    • L91 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Transportation: General
    • R4 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes
    • R14 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Land Use Patterns

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