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The Billion Pound Drop: The Blitz and Agglomeration Economies in London

Author

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  • Gerard H. Dericks
  • Hans R. A. Koster

Abstract

This paper exploits locally exogenous variation in the location of bombs dropped during the Blitz to quantify the effect of density restrictions on agglomeration economies in London: an elite global city. Employing microgeographic data on office rents and employment, this analysis points to effects for London several multiples larger than the existing literature which primarily derives its results from secondary cities. In particular, doubling employment density raises rents by 25%. Consequently if the Blitz had not taken place, the resulting loss in agglomeration economies to present day London would cause total annual office rent revenues to fall by $4:5 billion { equivalent to 1:2% of London's annual GDP. These results illuminate the substantial impact of land-use regulations in one of the world's largest and most productive cities.

Suggested Citation

  • Gerard H. Dericks & Hans R. A. Koster, 2018. "The Billion Pound Drop: The Blitz and Agglomeration Economies in London," CEP Discussion Papers dp1542, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp1542
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Hans R.A. Koster & Jan Rouwendal, 2012. "The Impact Of Mixed Land Use On Residential Property Values," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(5), pages 733-761, December.
    2. Been, Vicki & Ellen, Ingrid Gould & Gedal, Michael & Glaeser, Edward & McCabe, Brian J., 2016. "Preserving history or restricting development? The heterogeneous effects of historic districts on local housing markets in New York City," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 16-30.
    3. Edward L. Glaeser & Joshua D. Gottlieb, 2009. "The Wealth of Cities: Agglomeration Economies and Spatial Equilibrium in the United States," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(4), pages 983-1028, December.
    4. Borck, Rainald, 2016. "Will skyscrapers save the planet? Building height limits and urban greenhouse gas emissions," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 13-25.
    5. Hans R. A. Koster & Jos Ommeren & Piet Rietveld, 2014. "Agglomeration Economies and Productivity: A Structural Estimation Approach Using Commercial Rents," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 81(321), pages 63-85, January.
    6. Gibbons, Stephen & Machin, Stephen, 2005. "Valuing rail access using transport innovations," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 148-169, January.
    7. Koster, Hans R.A. & van Ommeren, Jos & Rietveld, Piet, 2012. "Bombs, boundaries and buildings," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(4), pages 631-641.
    8. Briant, A. & Combes, P.-P. & Lafourcade, M., 2010. "Dots to boxes: Do the size and shape of spatial units jeopardize economic geography estimations?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(3), pages 287-302, May.
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    11. Bosker, Maarten & Brakman, Steven & Garretsen, Harry & Schramm, Marc, 2007. "Looking for multiple equilibria when geography matters: German city growth and the WWII shock," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 152-169, January.
    12. Cheshire, Paul & Dericks, Gerard, 2014. "'Iconic design' as deadweight loss: rent acquisition by design in the constrained London office market," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 58457, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
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    14. repec:eee:pubeco:v:158:y:2018:i:c:p:126-151 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Munch, Patricia, 1976. "An Economic Analysis of Eminent Domain," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(3), pages 473-497, June.
    16. Ned Levine, 1999. "The Effects of Local Growth Controls on Regional Housing Production and Population Redistribution in California," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 36(12), pages 2047-2068, November.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    regulatory costs; office rents; agglomeration economies; London Blitz bombings;

    JEL classification:

    • R14 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Land Use Patterns
    • R33 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Nonagricultural and Nonresidential Real Estate Markets
    • R38 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Government Policy

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