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Economics of discontinuous urban development (In French)


  • Guillaume POUYANNE (GREThA-GRES)


Although it is frequent, discontinuous (leapfrog) development has rarely been addressed by the literature, because traditional models are unable to conceive diverse urban forms. This article is a survey of theoretical explanations of discontinuous development. It follows two parts. First, taking in account uncertainty on future returns drives to include an option value in land prices. Landlords speculate on the future value of the land and may leave vacant their plot in order to take advantage of high future returns. Second, discontinuous development is the product of a preference for open space. Natural amenities are included in land prices and provoke a dispersion of developed lots. These mechanisms are reinforced by a vote “against growth” by the inhabitants, which drives to a severe control of new developments.

Suggested Citation

  • Guillaume POUYANNE (GREThA-GRES), 2008. "Economics of discontinuous urban development (In French)," Cahiers du GRES (2002-2009) 2008-06, Groupement de Recherches Economiques et Sociales.
  • Handle: RePEc:grs:wpegrs:2008-06

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    More about this item


    discontinuous development; leapfrog development; speculation; amenities; urban sprawl; urban form;

    JEL classification:

    • R14 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Land Use Patterns
    • R21 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Housing Demand
    • R31 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Housing Supply and Markets

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