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The Carbon `Carprint' of Suburbanization: New Evidence from French Cities

Author

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  • Blaudin de Thé, Camille
  • Carantino, Benjamin
  • Lafourcade, Miren

Abstract

This paper investigates the impact of urban form on households' fuel consumption and car emissions in France. We analyze more particularly three features of cities commonly referred to as the `three D's' (Cervero and Kockelman, 1997): Density, Design and an innovative measure of Diversity. Individual data allow us to circumvent selection issues, as some households may live in a location consonant to their socioeconomic characteristics or travel predispositions, while instrumental variables help control for other endogeneity issues. The results suggest that, by choosing to live at the fringe of a metropolitan area instead of its city-center, our mean-sample household would bear an extra-consumption of approximatively six fuel tanks per year. More generally, doubling residential Density would result in an annual saving of approximatively two tanks per household, a gain that would be much larger if compaction were coupled with better Design (stronger jobs centralization, improved rail-routes or buses transiting to job centers and reduced pressure for road construction), and more Diversity (continuous morphology of the built-up environment). Another important finding is that the relationship between metropolitan population and car emissions is not linear but bell-shaped in France, contrary to the US, which suggests that small cities do compensate lack of Density by either a better Design or more Diversity.

Suggested Citation

  • Blaudin de Thé, Camille & Carantino, Benjamin & Lafourcade, Miren, 2018. "The Carbon `Carprint' of Suburbanization: New Evidence from French Cities," CEPR Discussion Papers 13086, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:13086
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Susan Handy, 2005. "Smart Growth and the Transportation-Land Use Connection: What Does the Research Tell Us?," International Regional Science Review, , vol. 28(2), pages 146-167, April.
    2. TANNIER, Cécile & THOMAS, Isabelle & VUIDEL, Gilles & FRANKHAUSER, Pierre, 2011. "A fractal approach to identifying urban boundaries," CORE Discussion Papers RP 2297, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
    3. Fabio Grazi & Jeroen C.J.M. van den Bergh & Jos N. van Ommeren, 2008. "An Empirical Analysis of Urban Form, Transport, and Global Warming," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 4), pages 97-122.
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    Cited by:

    1. Rainald Borck & Philipp Schrauth, 2019. "Population density and urban air quality," CESifo Working Paper Series 7629, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    car emissions; carbon footprint; public transport; Smart Cities; Sprawl;

    JEL classification:

    • Q4 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy
    • R1 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics
    • R2 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis
    • R4 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics

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