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A Quantitative Analysis Of Suburbanization And The Diffusion Of The Automobile

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  • Karen A. Kopecky
  • Richard M. H. Suen

Abstract

Suburbanization in the United States between 1910 and 1970 was concurrent with the diffusion of the automobile. A circular city model is developed in order to access quantitatively the contribution of automobiles and rising incomes to suburbanization. The model incorporates a number of driving forces of suburbanization and car adoption, including falling automobile prices, rising real incomes, changing costs of traveling by car and with public transportation, and urban population growth. According to the model, 60% of postwar (1940–1970) suburbanization can be explained by these factors. Rising real incomes and falling automobile prices are shown to be the key drivers of suburbanization.

Suggested Citation

  • Karen A. Kopecky & Richard M. H. Suen, 2010. "A Quantitative Analysis Of Suburbanization And The Diffusion Of The Automobile," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 51(4), pages 1003-1037, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:ier:iecrev:v:51:y:2010:i:4:p:1003-1037
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1468-2354.2010.00609.x
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    3. Boustan, Leah Platt, 2013. "Local public goods and the demand for high-income municipalities," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 71-82.
    4. Garth Heutel & Erich Muehlegger, 2015. "Consumer Learning and Hybrid Vehicle Adoption," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 62(1), pages 125-161, September.
    5. Jeremy Greenwood & Nezih Guner & Karen A. Kopecky, 2019. "The Wife's Protector: A Quantitative Theory Linking Contraceptive Technology with the Decline in Marriage," Working Papers wp2019_1912, CEMFI.
    6. Federico Curci & Federico Masera, 2018. "Flight from urban blight: lead poisoning, crime and suburbanization," Working Papers 2018/09, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    7. David Lagakos, 2009. "Superstores or mom and pops? Technolgy adoption and productivity differences in retail trade," Staff Report 428, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    8. Leah Platt Boustan & Robert A. Margo, 2011. "White Suburbanization and African-American Home Ownership, 1940-1980," NBER Working Papers 16702, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Goulden, Murray & Ryley, Tim & Dingwall, Robert, 2014. "Beyond ‘predict and provide’: UK transport, the growth paradigm and climate change," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 139-147.
    10. 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.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E10 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General Aggregative Models - - - General
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • N12 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)

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