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Fifty years of urban accessibility: the impact of the urban railway network on the land gradient in Berlin 1890-1936

  • Gabriel M. Ahlfeldt
  • Nicolai Wendland

As the first to use an archival data set on historical land values in Berlin, Germany, from 1890 to 1936, we investigate the impact of the rapid transport system on urban decentralization, using comparative statics of classical rent theory as a benchmark. We find that the monocentric model performs well over the entire period studied, revealing gradients that – although diminishing over time – turn out to be relatively steep in international comparison. Travel time to CBD measures incorporating the rapid transport network, however, clearly outperform traditional distance to CBD measures in terms of explanatory power. The evolution of the rapid transit network, and the subsequent changes in travel times to the CBD, explain almost three quarter of the overall trend in decentralization. Endogeneity concerns are addressed in an IV framework using a counterfactual transport network as an instrument

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File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/29650/
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Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library in its series LSE Research Online Documents on Economics with number 29650.

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Date of creation: Mar 2011
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Publication status: Published in Regional Science and Urban Economics, March, 2011, 41(2), pp. 77-88. ISSN: 0166-0462
Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:29650
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  1. Kau, James B. & Sirmans, C. F., 1979. "Urban land value functions and the price elasticity of demand for housing," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 112-121, January.
  2. McMillen, Daniel P., 1990. "Consistent estimation of the urban land value function," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 285-293, May.
  3. McMillen, Daniel P. & McDonald, John F., 1991. "Urban land value functions with endogenous zoning," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 14-27, January.
  4. Gabriel M. Ahlfeldt & Nicolai Wendland, 2009. "Looming stations: valuing transport innovations in historical context," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 25514, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  5. Anselin, Luc & Bera, Anil K. & Florax, Raymond & Yoon, Mann J., 1996. "Simple diagnostic tests for spatial dependence," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1), pages 77-104, February.
  6. Gabriel Ahlfeldt, 2011. "If Alonso Was Right: Modeling Accessibility And Explaining The Residential Land Gradient," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(2), pages 318-338, 05.
  7. McMillen, Daniel P., 1996. "One Hundred Fifty Years of Land Values in Chicago: A Nonparametric Approach," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 100-124, July.
  8. McDonald, John F., 1989. "Econometric studies of urban population density: A survey," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 361-385, November.
  9. Berry, Brian J. L., 1976. "Ghetto expansion and single-family housing prices: Chicago, 1968-1972," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 397-423, October.
  10. Daniel P. McMillen, 2010. "Issues In Spatial Data Analysis," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(1), pages 119-141.
  11. McMillen, Daniel P. & Jarmin, Ronald & Thorsnes, Paul, 1992. "Selection bias and land development in the monocentric city model," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 273-284, May.
  12. McDonald, John F. & Bowman, H. Woods, 1979. "Land value functions: A reevaluation," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 25-41, January.
  13. McMillen Daniel P., 1994. "Vintage Growth and Population Density: An Empirical Investigation," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 333-352, November.
  14. J F McDonald & D P McMillen, 1990. "Employment subcenters and land values in a polycentric urban area: the case of Chicago," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 22(12), pages 1561-1574, December.
  15. Atack, Jeremy & Margo, Robert A, 1998. ""Location, Location, Location!" The Price Gradient for Vacant Urban Land: New York, 1835 to 1900," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 16(2), pages 151-72, March.
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