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Reply to Cox, Gordon, and Redfearn's Comment on "Did Highways Cause Suburbanization?"


  • Nathaniel Baum-Snow


Wendell Cox, Peter Gordon, and Christian Redfearn have commented on a paper of mine that gives evidence of a strong and large causal relationship between highway construction and central city population declines in the United States between 1950 and 1990. Cox, Gordon, and Redfearn are skeptical that the true causal relationship could be so large and argue that my results are not consistent with evidence from a sample of European cities. In addition, they argue that my paper relies too heavily on the monocentric land-use model to generate results. In this reply, I provide further evidence that my estimates are reasonable and do not rely in any way on monocentricity. Further, I show that Cox, Gordon, and Redfearn’s analysis of European data is insufficient to conclude that a causal relationship between highway construction and population decentralization does not exist for European cities.

Suggested Citation

  • Nathaniel Baum-Snow, 2008. "Reply to Cox, Gordon, and Redfearn's Comment on "Did Highways Cause Suburbanization?"," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 5(1), pages 46-50, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:ejw:journl:v:5:y:2008:i:1:p:46-50

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Nathaniel Baum-Snow, 2007. "Did Highways Cause Suburbanization?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(2), pages 775-805.
    2. Wendell Cox & Peter Gordon & Christian L. Redfearn, 2008. "Highway Penetration of Central Cities: Not a Major Cause of Suburbanization," Econ Journal Watch, Econ Journal Watch, vol. 5(1), pages 32-45, January.
    3. Baum-Snow, Nathaniel, 2007. "Suburbanization and transportation in the monocentric model," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(3), pages 405-423, November.
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    More about this item


    Suburbanization; depopulation; central cities; highway impacts;

    JEL classification:

    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)
    • R40 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - General


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