Flight From Blight Vs. Natural Evolution: Determinats Of Household Residential Location Choice And Suburbanization
Using a unique dataset on the characteristics, origin, and destination of households who engaged in intrametropolitan moves in the Columbus, Ohio area, we estimate a hybrid conditional logit choice model of residential location that separately identifies the push/pull influence of local public goods, namely school quality and public safety, from household income and other lifecycle effects. Our results provide evidence of both a "natural evolution" of households, due to income and household structural changes, as well as a "flight from blight", due to higher crime rates, lower school quality, and lower quality of housing stock in the central city. In comparing the magnitudes of these variables, we find that the influence of public school quality is consistently larger than the influence of household income across all locations and particularly in the central city. Rather than being largely a result of the "natural evolution" of households as incomes grow over time, our results provide evidence that the central city's inferior public goods, most notably school quality, have played a much more dominant role in pushing households to suburban locations. This finding has important implications for central city, suburban, and exurban communities that seek to counteract the movement of population to the outer suburbs and beyond.
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