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Agglomeration Externalities and Urban Growth Controls

  • Wouter Vermeulen

Should constraints on urban expansion be relaxed because of external agglomeration economies? In a system of heterogeneous cities, we demonstrate that second-best land use policy consists of a tax on city creation and a subsidy (tax) on urban development in cities in which the marginal-average productivity gap is above (below) average. However, the implementation of this policy requires coordination at the system level. A tax on city creation does not raise welfare if development taxes are set decentrally by competitive urban developers, nor does correction of these taxes raise welfare if a tax on city creation is unavailable. In the resulting constrained optimal allocation, urban development is subsidized in all cities. The quantitative significance of these findings is explored in an application of our model.

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Paper provided by Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE in its series SERC Discussion Papers with number 0093.

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Date of creation: Oct 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cep:sercdp:0093
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.spatialeconomics.ac.uk/SERC/publications/default.asp

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  1. Glaeser, Edward L & Gyourko, Joseph & Saks, Raven, 2005. "Why Is Manhattan So Expensive? Regulation and the Rise in Housing Prices," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 48(2), pages 331-69, October.
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  3. Richard Arnott & Alex Anas & Kenneth Small, 1997. "Urban Spatial Structure," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 388., Boston College Department of Economics.
  4. Vermeulen, Wouter & van Ommeren, Jos, 2009. "Does land use planning shape regional economies? A simultaneous analysis of housing supply, internal migration and local employment growth in the Netherlands," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 294-310, December.
  5. Ed Glaeser & Jed Kolko & Albert Saiz, 2000. "Consumer City," NBER Working Papers 7790, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Paul Cheshire & Stephen Sheppard, 1997. "Welfare Economics of Land Use Regulation," Urban/Regional 9702001, EconWPA.
  7. Abdel-Rahman, Hesham M. & Anas, Alex, 2004. "Theories of systems of cities," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: J. V. Henderson & J. F. Thisse (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 52, pages 2293-2339 Elsevier.
  8. Vernon Henderson & Anthony Venables, 2009. "Dynamics of city formation," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 12(2), pages 233-254, April.
  9. Walsh, Randy, 2007. "Endogenous open space amenities in a locational equilibrium," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(2), pages 319-344, March.
  10. Yoshitsugu Kanemoto, 2011. "Second-Best Cost?Benefit Analysis with a Microfoundation of Urban Agglomeration," GRIPS Discussion Papers 11-03, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies.
  11. Brueckner, Jan K., 1995. "Strategic control of growth in a system of cities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(3), pages 393-416, July.
  12. Robert E. Lucas & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2002. "On the Internal Structure of Cities," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(4), pages 1445-1476, July.
  13. Anas, Alex & Pines, David, 2008. "Anti-sprawl policies in a system of congested cities," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(5), pages 408-423, September.
  14. Satyajit Chatterjee, 2006. "A quantitative assessment of the role of agglomeration economies in the spatial concentration of U.S. employment," Working Papers 06-20, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  15. Helsley, Robert W. & Strange, William C., 1995. "Strategic growth controls," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(4), pages 435-460, August.
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