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The shared fortunes of cities and suburbs

  • Jordan Rappaport

For more than 50 years, suburbs throughout the United States have prospered, while many of the large cities they surround have stagnated. Hence, many people perceive that cities and suburbs tend to grow at each other’s expense—and thus compete for residents and jobs. While there is some truth in this perception, it misses the fact that a metro area’s cities and suburbs also depend on each other for economic growth. Cities and their suburbs share a multitude of resources, such as airports, highways, mass transit, cultural amenities, entertainment venues, air quality, potential employers, and many more. These shared resources may be even more important than the differences between cities and suburbs in determining where people live and jobs locate. Rappaport examines the main forces that have influenced the growth of cities and suburbs over the past century. He finds that, while cities and suburbs do sometimes grow at each other’s expense, more often they grow or decline together. Thus, while it may make sense for cities and their suburbs to compete along some dimensions, there are also strong incentives for the two to cooperate to make their metro areas attractive and productive places to live and work.

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Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City in its journal Economic Review.

Volume (Year): (2005)
Issue (Month): Q III ()
Pages: 33-60

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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedker:y:2005:i:qiii:p:33-60:n:v.90no.3
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  1. Glaeser, Edward L & Sacerdote, Bruce & Scheinkman, Jose A, 1996. "Crime and Social Interactions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(2), pages 507-48, May.
  2. Glaeser, Edward L. & Scheinkman, JoseA. & Shleifer, Andrei, 1995. "Economic growth in a cross-section of cities," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 117-143, August.
  3. Grossman, Philip J. & Mavros, Panayiotis & Wassmer, Robert W., 1999. "Public Sector Technical Inefficiency in Large U.S. Cities," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 278-299, September.
  4. Charles M. Tiebout, 1956. "A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64, pages 416.
  5. Richard Voith, 1999. "Does the federal tax treatment of housing affect the pattern of metropolitan development?," Business Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, issue Mar, pages 3-16.
  6. Caroline M. Hoxby, 2000. "Does Competition among Public Schools Benefit Students and Taxpayers?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1209-1238, December.
  7. Alberto Alesina & Reza Baqir & Caroline Hoxby, 2004. "Political Jurisdictions in Heterogeneous Communities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(2), pages 348-396, April.
  8. Edward L. Glaeser & Matthew E. Kahn & Jordan Rappaport, 2000. "Why Do the Poor Live in Cities?," NBER Working Papers 7636, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Dora L. Costa & Matthew E. Kahn, 2003. "The Rising Price of Nonmarket Goods," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 227-232, May.
  10. Jordan Rappaport, 1999. "Why are population flows so persistent?," Research Working Paper 99-13, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  11. Jordan Rappaport & Chad Wilkerson, 2001. "What are the benefits of hosting a major league sports franchise?," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q I, pages 55-86.
  12. Edward L. Glaeser & Jessse M. Shapiro, 2002. "The Benefits of the Home Mortgage Interest Deduction," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1979, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  13. Margo, Robert A., 1992. "Explaining the postwar suburbanization of population in the United States: The role of income," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 301-310, May.
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