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Congestion, agglomeration, and the structure of cities

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  • Brinkman, Jeffrey C.

Abstract

Congestion costs in urban areas are significant and clearly represent a negative externality. Nonetheless, economists also recognize the production advantages of urban density in the form of positive agglomeration externalities. The long-run equilibrium outcomes in economies with multiple correlated but offsetting externalities have yet to be fully explored in the literature. Therefore, I develop a spatial equilibrium model of urban structure that includes both congestion costs and agglomeration externalities. I then estimate the structural parameters of the model using a computational algorithm to match the spatial distribution of employment, population, land use, land rents, and commute times in the data. Policy simulations based on the estimates suggest that congestion pricing may have ambiguous consequences for economic welfare.

Suggested Citation

  • Brinkman, Jeffrey C., 2016. "Congestion, agglomeration, and the structure of cities," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 13-31.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:juecon:v:94:y:2016:i:c:p:13-31
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jue.2016.05.002
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Satyajit Chatterjee & Burcu Eyigungor, 2017. "A Tractable City Model For Aggregative Analysis," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 58, pages 127-155, February.
    3. Stephen J. Redding & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2017. "Quantitative Spatial Economics," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 9(1), pages 21-58, September.
    4. Huang, Hai-Jun & Xia, Tian & Tian, Qiong & Liu, Tian-Liang & Wang, Chenlan & Li, Daqing, 2020. "Transportation issues in developing China's urban agglomerations," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 1-22.
    5. Hoyt Bleakley & Jeffrey Lin, 2015. "History and the Sizes of Cities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(5), pages 558-563, May.
    6. Jordan Rappaport, 2014. "A quantitative system of monocentric metros," Research Working Paper RWP 14-3, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
    7. Jeffrey Brinkman, 2014. "Location dynamics: a key consideration for urban policy," Business Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, issue 1, pages 9-15.
    8. Stef Proost & Jacques-François Thisse, 2019. "What Can Be Learned from Spatial Economics?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 57(3), pages 575-643, September.
    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. Ben Dachis, 2013. "Cars, Congestion and Costs: A New Approach to Evaluating Government Infrastructure Investment," C.D. Howe Institute Commentary, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 385, July.
    11. Jean Flemming, 2018. "Costly Commuting and the Job Ladder," 2018 Meeting Papers 100, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    12. Koen van Ruijven & Paul Verstraten & Peter Zwaneveld, 2019. "Transit-oriented developments and residential property values," CPB Discussion Paper 399, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    13. Pan, Haozhi & Deal, Brian & Chen, Yan & Hewings, Geoffrey, 2018. "A Reassessment of urban structure and land-use patterns: distance to CBD or network-based? — Evidence from Chicago," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 215-228.
    14. Wei-Bin Zhang, 2017. "Multi-Regional Growth, Agglomeration and Land Values in a Generalized Heckscher-Ohlin Trade Model," Eastern European Business and Economics Journal, Eastern European Business and Economics Studies Centre, vol. 3(3), pages 270-305.
    15. Koen van Ruijven & Paul Verstraten & Peter Zwaneveld, 2019. "Transit-oriented developments and residential property values," CPB Discussion Paper 399.rdf, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    16. Hörcher, Daniel & De Borger, Bruno & Seifu, Woubit & Graham, Daniel J., 2020. "Public transport provision under agglomeration economies," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(C).
    17. Vandyck, Toon & Rutherford, Thomas F., 2018. "Regional labor markets, commuting, and the economic impact of road pricing," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 217-236.
    18. José M. Gaspar, 2018. "A prospective review on New Economic Geography," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 61(2), pages 237-272, September.
    19. Jordan Rappaport, 2014. "Monocentric city redux," Research Working Paper RWP 14-9, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Congestion; Agglomeration; Externalities; Spatial equilibrium; Urban structure; Estimation;

    JEL classification:

    • R13 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - General Equilibrium and Welfare Economic Analysis of Regional Economies
    • C51 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Model Construction and Estimation
    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • R40 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - General

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