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

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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.
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    6. 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.
    7. Gibbons, Stephen & Machin, Stephen, 2005. "Valuing rail access using transport innovations," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 148-169, January.
    8. 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.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Gabriel Ahlfeldt & Elisabetta Pietrostefani, 2017. "The Economic Effects of Density: A Synthesis," CESifo Working Paper Series 6744, CESifo.
    2. Ahlfeldt, Gabriel M. & Pietrostefani, Elisabetta, 2019. "The economic effects of density: A synthesis," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 93-107.
    3. Martin Adler & Stefanie Peer & Tanja Sinozic, 2019. "Autonomous, Connected, Electric Shared vehicles (ACES) and public finance: an explorative analysis," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 19-005/VIII, Tinbergen Institute.

    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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