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Have amenities become relatively more important than firm productivity advantages in metropolitan areas?

  • Richard Deitz
  • Jaison R. Abel

We analyze patterns of compensating differentials to determine whether a region's bundle of site characteristics has a greater net effect on household location decisions relative to firm location decisions in U.S. metropolitan areas over time. We estimate skill-adjusted wages and attribute-adjusted rents using hedonic regressions for 238 metropolitan areas in 1990 and 2000. Within the framework of the standard Roback model, we classify each metropolitan area based on whether amenities or firm productivity advantages dominate and analyze the extent to which these classifications change between 1990 and 2000. We then decompose compensating differentials into amenity and firm productivity advantage components and examine how these components change. Empirical results suggest that while the relative importance of amenities appears to have increased slightly between 1990 and 2000, firm productivity advantages continued to dominate amenities in the vast majority of metropolitan areas during this decade.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of New York in its series Staff Reports with number 344.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:344
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  1. Edward L. Glaeser & Albert Saiz, 2003. "The Rise of the Skilled City," NBER Working Papers 10191, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Patricia E. Beeson & Randall W. Eberts, 1987. "Identifying productivity and amenity effects in interurban wage differentials," Working Paper 8707, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  3. Stuart A. Gabriel & Joe P. Mattey & William L. Wascher, 1996. "Compensating differentials and evolution of the quality-of-life among U.S. states," Working Papers in Applied Economic Theory 96-07, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  4. Ed Glaeser & Jed Kolko & Albert Saiz, 2000. "Consumer City," NBER Working Papers 7790, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Haughwout, Andrew F., 2002. "Public infrastructure investments, productivity and welfare in fixed geographic areas," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(3), pages 405-428, March.
  6. Stuart A. Gabriel & Stuart S. Rosenthal, 2004. "Quality of the Business Environment Versus Quality of Life: Do Firms and Households Like the Same Cities?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 438-444, February.
  7. Edward L. Glaeser & Joshua D. Gottlieb, 2006. "Urban Resurgence and the Consumer City," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2109, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  8. Jordan Rappaport, 2003. "Moving to nice weather," Research Working Paper RWP 03-07, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
  9. Richard B. Peiser & Lawrence B. Smith, 1985. "Homeownership Returns, Tenure Choice and Inflation," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 13(4), pages 343-360.
  10. Roback, Jennifer, 1982. "Wages, Rents, and the Quality of Life," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(6), pages 1257-78, December.
  11. Edward L Glaeser & Jesse M Shapiro, 2003. "Urban Growth in the 1990s: Is City Living Back?," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(1), pages 139-165.
  12. 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.
  13. Patricia E. Beeson & Randall W. Eberts, 1987. "Identifying amenity and productivity cities using wage and rent differentials," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, issue Q III, pages 16-25.
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