IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

A simple model of city crowdedness

  • Jordan Rappaport

Population density varies widely across U.S. cities. A calibrated general equilibrium model in which productivity and quality-of-life differ across locations can account for such variation. Individuals derive utility from consumption of a traded good, a nontraded good, leisure, and quality-of-life. The traded and nontraded goods are produced by combining mobile labor, mobile capital, and non-mobile land. An eight-fold increase in population density requires an approximate 50 percent productivity differential or an approximate 20 percent compensating differential. A thirty-two-fold increase in population density requires an approximate 95 percent productivity differential or a 33 percent compensating differential. Empirical evidence suggests productivity and quality-of-life differentials of this magnitude are plausible. The model implies that broad-based technological progress can induce substantial migration to localities with high quality-of-life.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City in its series Research Working Paper with number RWP 04-12.

in new window

Date of creation: 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedkrw:rwp04-12
Contact details of provider: Postal: 1 Memorial Drive, Kansas City, MO 64198-0001
Phone: (816) 881-2254
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Email:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Duranton, Gilles & Puga, Diego, 2000. "Nursery Cities: Urban Diversity, Process Innovation, and the Life-Cycle of Products," CEPR Discussion Papers 2376, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Ciccone, Antonio & Hall, Robert E, 1996. "Productivity and the Density of Economic Activity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(1), pages 54-70, March.
  3. Michael Gort & Jeremy Greenwood & Peter Rupert, 1999. "Measuring the Rate of Technological Progress in Structures," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 2(1), pages 207-230, January.
  4. Ariel T. Burstein & Joao C. Neves & Sergio Rebelo, 2000. "Distribution Costs and Real Exchange Rate Dynamics During Exchange-Rate-Based Stabilizations," RCER Working Papers 473, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  5. Gyourko, Joseph & Tracy, Joseph, 1989. "The Importance of Local Fiscal Conditions in Analyzing Local Labor Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(5), pages 1208-31, October.
  6. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why Do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output Per Worker Than Others?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(1), pages 83-116, February.
  7. Dale W. Jorgenson & Mun S. Ho & Kevin J. Stiroh, 2006. "Projecting Productivity Growth: Lessons from the US Growth Resurgence," Chapters, in: The New Economy and Beyond, chapter 2 Edward Elgar.
  8. Greenwood, J. & Hercowitz, Z. & Krusell, P., 1996. "Long-Run Implications of Investment-Specific Technological Change," RCER Working Papers 420, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  9. Dale W. Jorgenson & Kevin J. Stiroh, 2000. "Raising the Speed Limit: U.S. Economic Growth in the Information Age," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 31(1), pages 125-236.
  10. J.V. Henderson, 1972. "The Sizes and Types of Cities," Working Papers 75, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  11. Stockman, Alan C & Tesar, Linda L, 1995. "Tastes and Technology in a Two-Country Model of the Business Cycle: Explaining International Comovements," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 168-85, March.
  12. Upton, Charles, 1981. "An equilibrium model of city size," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 15-36, July.
  13. Gyourko, Joseph & Tracy, Joseph, 1991. "The Structure of Local Public Finance and the Quality of Life," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(4), pages 774-806, August.
  14. Greenwood,J. & Seshadri,A. & Yorukoglu,M., 2002. "Engines of liberation," Working papers 1, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  15. Henderson, J. Vernon, 1987. "General equilibrium modeling of systems of cities," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: E. S. Mills (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 23, pages 927-956 Elsevier.
  16. Susanto Basu & John G. Fernald & Nicholas Oulton & Sylaja Srinivasan, 2003. "The case of the missing productivity growth: or, does information technology explain why productivity accelerated in the United States but not the United Kingdom?," Working Paper Series WP-03-08, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  17. Combes, Pierre-Philippe & Duranton, Gilles & Gobillon, Laurent, 2008. "Spatial wage disparities: Sorting matters!," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 723-742, March.
  18. Blomquist, Glenn C & Berger, Mark C & Hoehn, John P, 1988. "New Estimates of Quality of Life in Urban Areas," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(1), pages 89-107, March.
  19. Oliner, Stephen D. & Sichel, Daniel E., 2003. "Information technology and productivity: where are we now and where are we going?," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 477-503, July.
  20. Dora L. Costa & Matthew E. Kahn, 2003. "The Rising Price of Nonmarket Goods," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 227-232, May.
  21. Roland Benabou, 1991. "Workings of a City: Location, Education, and Production," NBER Technical Working Papers 0113, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. McDonald, John F., 1981. "Capital-land substitution in urban housing: A survey of empirical estimates," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 190-211, March.
  23. Mendoza, Enrique G, 1995. "The Terms of Trade, the Real Exchange Rate, and Economic Fluctuations," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 36(1), pages 101-37, February.
  24. Haurin, Donald R, 1980. "The Regional Distribution of Population, Migration, and Climate," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 95(2), pages 293-308, September.
  25. Jeremy Greenwood & Richard Rogerson & Randall Wright, 1993. "Putting home economics into macroeconomics," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Sum, pages 2-11.
  26. Thorsnes, Paul, 1997. "Consistent Estimates of the Elasticity of Substitution between Land and Non-Land Inputs in the Production of Housing," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 98-108, July.
  27. Jackson, Jerry R. & Johnson, Ruth C. & Kaserman, David L., 1984. "The measurement of land prices and the elasticity of substitution in housing production," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 1-12, July.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedkrw:rwp04-12. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Lu Dayrit)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.