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Anti-sprawl policies in a system of congested cities

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  • Anas, Alex
  • Pines, David

Abstract

Armed with recurring analyses since the mid 1960s, economists believe that the under-pricing of traffic congestion in urban areas causes not only excessive travel but also excessively low land use densities and excessively spread out cities, a condition popularly known as urban sprawl. This conclusion is derived from analyses of a single monocentric city. We extend the analysis to a system of two asymmetric monocentric cities closed in aggregate population, differing by their amenity. In this setup, we analyze the effect of optimally tolling traffic congestion, or of optimally determined urban growth boundaries (UGBs), a constrained optimum regime that can also be implemented by taxes and subsidies on land. We prove that either policy regime may expand aggregate urban land use relative to laissez-faire. This is certainly true when the elasticity of substitution between lot size and other goods is sufficiently small and/or the cities are sufficiently asymmetric in their amenities. In both cases, the inter-city expansive effect of tolling, or of the UGB regime on aggregate urban land use outweighs the contractive intra-city effect (which is the only effect considered in earlier studies). Only when the elasticity of substitution is sufficiently large and/or the cities are sufficiently symmetric, the intra-city contractive effects of tolling or of the UGBs on aggregate land use, dominate the inter-city expansive effect, validating the earlier belief. These, properties are illustrated in simulations which supplement our proofs.

Suggested Citation

  • Anas, Alex & Pines, David, 2008. "Anti-sprawl policies in a system of congested cities," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(5), pages 408-423, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:regeco:v:38:y:2008:i:5:p:408-423
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Barbara Weilenmann & Tobias Schulz, 2014. "Socio-economic explanation of urban sprawl: Evidence from Switzerland, 1970-2010," ERSA conference papers ersa14p1188, European Regional Science Association.
    2. Jan K. Brueckner, 2013. "Efficiency of Decentralized Road Investment and Pricing in a Multi-Jurisdictional City with Spillovers," CESifo Working Paper Series 4384, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Walid Oueslati & Seraphim Alvanides & Guy Garrod, 2015. "Determinants of urban sprawl in European cities," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 52(9), pages 1594-1614, July.
    4. Anas, Alex & Timilsina, Govinda R. & Zheng, Siqi, 2009. "An analysis of various policy instruments to reduce congestion, fuel consumption and CO2 emissions in Beijing," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5068, The World Bank.
    5. Brueckner, Jan K. & Helsley, Robert W., 2011. "Sprawl and blight," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 205-213, March.
    6. Chandra Balijepalli & Simon Shepherd, 2016. "Cordon tolls and competition between cities with symmetric and asymmetric interactions," Transportation, Springer, vol. 43(5), pages 797-821, September.
    7. Stefan Dodds & Mati Dubrovinsky, 2015. "Retail Amenities And Urban Sprawl," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(2), pages 280-297, March.
    8. Kim, Jinwon, 2016. "Vehicle fuel-efficiency choices, emission externalities, and urban sprawl," Economics of Transportation, Elsevier, vol. 5(C), pages 24-36.
    9. Vermeulen, Wouter, 2011. "Agglomeration externalities and urban growth controls," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 57852, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    10. De Lara, Michel & de Palma, André & Kilani, Moez & Piperno, Serge, 2013. "Congestion pricing and long term urban form: Application to Paris region," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 282-295.
    11. Pines, David & Kono, Tatsuhito, 2012. "FAR regulations and unpriced transport congestion," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(6), pages 931-937.
    12. Wouter Vermeulen, 2011. "Agglomeration Externalities and Urban Growth Controls," CPB Discussion Paper 191, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    13. Wouter Vermeulen & Jan Rouwendal, 2008. "Urban Expansion or Clustered Deconcentration?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 08-043/3, Tinbergen Institute.
    14. Wouter Vermeulen, 2017. "Agglomeration externalities and urban growth controls," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(1), pages 59-94.
    15. Anas, Alex, 2012. "The optimal pricing, finance and supply of urban transportation in general equilibrium: A theoretical exposition," Economics of Transportation, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 64-76.
    16. Jan K. Brueckner, 2013. "Decentralized Road Investment and Pricing in a Monocentric, Multi-Jurisdictional City: Efficiency with Spillovers," CESifo Working Paper Series 4473, CESifo Group Munich.
    17. Shepherd, Simon & Balijepalli, Chandra, 2015. "A game of two cities: A toll setting game with experimental results," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 95-109.
    18. Groves, Jeremy R., 2009. "The impact of positive property tax differentials on the timing of development," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(6), pages 739-748, November.
    19. Hirte, Georg & Rhee, Hyok-Joo, 2016. "Regulation versus Taxation," CEPIE Working Papers 05/16, Technische Universität Dresden, Center of Public and International Economics (CEPIE).
    20. Marin V. Geshkov & Joseph S. DeSalvo, 2012. "The Effect Of Land-Use Controls On The Spatial Size Of U.S. Urbanized Areas," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(4), pages 648-675, October.
    21. Rhee, Hyok-Joo & Yu, Sanggyun & Hirte, Georg, 2014. "Zoning in cities with traffic congestion and agglomeration economies," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 82-93.
    22. Jou, Jyh-Bang, 2012. "Efficient growth boundaries in the presence of population externalities and stochastic rents," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 52(4), pages 349-357.
    23. Kono, Tatsuhito & Joshi, Kirti Kusum, 2012. "A new interpretation on the optimal density regulations: Closed and open city," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 223-234.
    24. Kono, Tatsuhito & Joshi, Kirti Kusum & Kato, Takeaki & Yokoi, Takahisa, 2012. "Optimal regulation on building size and city boundary: An effective second-best remedy for traffic congestion externality," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(4), pages 619-630.

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