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Urban Decline and Durable Housing

  • Edward L. Glaeser
  • Joseph Gyourko

People continue to live in many big American cities, because in those cities housing costs less than new construction. While cities may lose their productive edge, their houses remain and population falls only when housing depreciates. This paper presents a simple durable housing model of urban decline with several implications which document: (1) urban growth rates are leptokurtotic— cities grow more quickly than they decline, (2) city growth rates are highly persistent, especially amount declining cities, (3) positive shocks increase population more than they increase housing prices, (4) negative shocks decrease housing prices more than they decrease population, (5) the relationship between changes in housing prices and changes in population is strongly concave, and (6) declining cities attract individuals with low levels of human capital.

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File URL: http://www.economics.harvard.edu/pub/hier/2001/HIER1931.pdf
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Paper provided by Harvard - Institute of Economic Research in its series Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers with number 1931.

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Date of creation: 2001
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Handle: RePEc:fth:harver:1931
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Web page: http://www.economics.harvard.edu/journals/hier

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  1. 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.
  2. Krugman, Paul, 1991. "History and Industry Location: The Case of the Manufacturing Belt," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 80-83, May.
  3. Goodman, John Jr. & Ittner, John B., 1992. "The accuracy of home owners' estimates of house value," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(4), pages 339-357, December.
  4. Eaton, Jonathan & Eckstein, Zvi, 1997. "Cities and growth: Theory and evidence from France and Japan," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(4-5), pages 443-474, August.
  5. Edward L. Glaeser & Matthew E. Kahn & Jordan Rappaport, 2000. "Why Do the Poor Live in Cities?," NBER Working Papers 7636, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Robert M. Solow, 1973. "Congestion Cost and the Use of Land for Streets," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 4(2), pages 602-618, Autumn.
  7. Paul Krugman, 1990. "Increasing Returns and Economic Geography," NBER Working Papers 3275, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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