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Is There a New Urbanism? The Growth of U. S. Cities in the 1990s


  • Edwarad L. Glaeser
  • Jesse Shapiro


The 1990s were an unusually good decade for the largest American cities and, in particular, for the cities of the Midwest. However, fundamentally urban growth in the 1990s looked extremely similar to urban growth during the prior post-war decades. The growth of cities was determined by three large trends: (1) cities with strong human capital bases grew faster than cities without skills, (2) people moved to warmer, drier places, and (3) cities built around the automobile replaced cities that rely on public transportation. In the 1990s (as in the 1980s), more local government spending was associated with slower growth, unless that spending was on highways. We shouldn’t be surprised by the lack of change in patterns of urban growth, after all the correlation of city growth rates across decades is generally over 70 percent.

Suggested Citation

  • Edwarad L. Glaeser & Jesse Shapiro, 2001. "Is There a New Urbanism? The Growth of U. S. Cities in the 1990s," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1925, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:fth:harver:1925

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Edward L. Glaeser, Jed Kolko, and Albert Saiz, 2001. "Consumer city," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 1(1), pages 27-50, January.
    3. Gene M. Grossman (ed.), 1996. "Economic Growth," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, volume 0, number 553.
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    7. Glaeser, Edward L. & Scheinkman, JoseA. & Shleifer, Andrei, 1995. "Economic growth in a cross-section of cities," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 117-143, August.
    8. Simon, Curtis J. & Nardinelli, Clark, 1996. "The Talk of the Town: Human Capital, Information, and the Growth of English Cities, 1861 to 1961," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 384-413, July.
    9. John Luke Gallup & Jeffrey D. Sachs & Andrew Mellinger, 1999. "Geography and Economic Development," CID Working Papers 01A, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
    10. Edward L. Glaeser & Matthew E. Kahn, 2001. "Decentralized Employment and the Transformation of the American City," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1912, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    11. Gallup, J.L. & Sachs, J.D. & Mullinger, A., 1999. "Geography and Economic Development," Papers 1, Chicago - Graduate School of Business.
    12. Mills Edwin S. & Lubuele Luan' Sende, 1995. "Projecting Growth of Metropolitan Areas," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 344-360, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Humphreys, Brad & Zhou, Li, 2013. "Sports Facilities, Agglomeration, and Urban Redevelopment," Working Papers 2013-4, University of Alberta, Department of Economics.
    2. William Shobe & John L. Knapp, 2007. "The Economic Impact of the University of Virginia: How a Major Research University Affects the Local and State Economies," Reports 2007-01, Center for Economic and Policy Studies.
    3. repec:spr:soinre:v:134:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s11205-016-1468-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Cuberes David, 2009. "A Model of Sequential City Growth," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-41, May.
    5. Humphreys, Brad R. & Zhou, Li, 2015. "Sports facilities, agglomeration, and public subsidies," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 60-73.
    6. Jeremy Lawson & Jacqueline Dwyer, 2002. "Labour Market Adjustment in Regional Australia," RBA Research Discussion Papers rdp2002-04, Reserve Bank of Australia.
    7. Irina Alina Popescu, 2013. "Workforce Professional Skills Development in Times of Economic Crisis," Management, University of Primorska, Faculty of Management Koper, vol. 8(2), pages 139-155.
    8. Talita Greyling & Stephanié Rossouw, 2017. "Non-Economic Quality of Life and Population Density in South Africa," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 134(3), pages 1051-1075, December.
    9. Elisabet Viladecans Marsal, 2002. "The growth of cities: Does agglomeration matter?," Working Papers 2002/3, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).

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    JEL classification:

    • R1 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics


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