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The environmental impact of suburbanization

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  • Matthew E. Kahn

    (Economics and International Affairs at Columbia University)

Abstract

The U.S. population is increasingly spreading out, moving to the suburbs, and migrating from the Rust Belt to the Sun Belt. This paper uses recent household-level data sets to study some of the environmental consequences of population suburbanization. It measures the increase in household driving, home fuel consumption, and land consumption brought about by population dispersion. Suburban households drive 31 percent more than their urban counterparts, and western households drive 35 percent more miles than northeastern households. Despite increased vehicle dependence, local air quality has not been degraded in sprawling areas, thanks to emissions controls. Technological innovation can mitigate the environmental consequences of resource-intensive suburbanization. © 2000 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthew E. Kahn, 2000. "The environmental impact of suburbanization," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(4), pages 569-586.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:19:y:2000:i:4:p:569-586
    DOI: 10.1002/1520-6688(200023)19:4<569::AID-PAM3>3.0.CO;2-P
    as

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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Peter Mieszkowski & Edwin S. Mills, 1993. "The Causes of Metropolitan Suburbanization," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 135-147, Summer.
    2. Matthew E. Kahn, 1996. "New Evidence on Trends in Vehicle Emissions," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 27(1), pages 183-196, Spring.
    3. Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg, 1998. "The Effects of the Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency Standards in the US," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(1), pages 1-33, March.
    4. Joseph Gyourko & Richard Voith, 1997. "Does the U.S. tax treatment of housing promote suburbanization and central city decline?," Working Papers 97-13, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
    5. 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.
    6. Julie Berry Cullen & Steven D. Levitt, 1999. "Crime, Urban Flight, And The Consequences For Cities," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(2), pages 159-169, May.
    7. Dickie, Mark & Gerking, Shelby, 1991. "Willingness to Pay for ozone control: Inferences from the demand for medical care," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 1-16, July.
    8. Brueckner, Jan K & Fansler, David A, 1983. "The Economics of Urban Sprawl: Theory and Evidence on the Spatial Sizes of Cities," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 65(3), pages 479-482, August.
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