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Sprawl and Blight

  • Jan K. Brueckner


    (Department of Economics, University of California-Irvine)

  • Robert W. Helsley


    (Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley)

The objective of this paper is to show how the same market failures that contribute to urban sprawl also contribute to urban blight. The paper develops a simple dynamic model in which new suburban and older central-city properties compete for mobile residents. The level of housing services generated by older properties depends on current maintenance or reinvestment expenditures. In this setting, market failures that reduce the cost of occupying suburban locations, thus leading to excessive suburban development, also depress central-city housing prices and undermine maintenance incentives, leading to deficient levels of central-city reinvestment. Corrective policies that shift population from the suburbs to the center result in higher levels of reinvestment in central-city housing, therefore reducing blight.

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Paper provided by University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 091003.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:irv:wpaper:091003
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  1. Julie Berry Cullen & Steven D. Levitt, 1996. "Crime, Urban Flight, and the Consequences for Cities," NBER Working Papers 5737, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Rappaport, Jordan, 2007. "Moving to nice weather," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 375-398, May.
  3. Braid, Ralph M., 1986. "The comparative statics of a filtering model of housing with two income groups," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 437-448, August.
  4. Glaeser, Edward L. & Kahn, Matthew E. & Rappaport, Jordan, 2008. "Why do the poor live in cities The role of public transportation," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 1-24, January.
  5. Anas, Alex & Pines, David, 2008. "Anti-sprawl policies in a system of congested cities," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(5), pages 408-423, September.
  6. Jan K. Brueckner, 2005. "Urban Growth Boundaries: An Effective Second-Best Remedy for Unpriced Traffic Congestion?," Working Papers 050610, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
  7. Peter Mieszkowski & Edwin S. Mills, 1993. "The Causes of Metropolitan Suburbanization," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 135-147, Summer.
  8. Edward L. Glaeser & Matthew E. Kahn, 2003. "Sprawl and Urban Growth," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2004, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  9. Mills, Edwin S. & Price, Richard, 1984. "Metropolitan suburbanization and central city problems," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 1-17, January.
  10. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:122:y:2007:i:2:p:775-805 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Bradford, David F & Kelejian, Harry H, 1973. "An Econometric Model of the Flight to the Suburbs," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 566-89, May-June.
  12. Marcy Burchfield & Henry G. Overman & Diego Puga & Matthew A. Turner, 2005. "Causes of sprawl: A portrait from space," Working Papers tecipa-192, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  13. Ihlanfeldt, Keith R & Sjoquist, David L, 1990. "Job Accessibility and Racial Differences in Youth Employment Rates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 267-76, March.
  14. Thomas J. Nechyba & Randall P. Walsh, 2004. "Urban Sprawl," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(4), pages 177-200, Fall.
  15. Brueckner, Jan K., 1997. "Infrastructure financing and urban development:: The economics of impact fees," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(3), pages 383-407, December.
  16. Bruegmann, Robert, 2005. "Sprawl," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, number 9780226076904.
  17. Wheaton, William C., 1998. "Land Use and Density in Cities with Congestion," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 258-272, March.
  18. Bento, Antonio M. & Franco, Sofia F. & Kaffine, Daniel, 2006. "The efficiency and distributional impacts of alternative anti-sprawl policies," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 121-141, January.
  19. Aaronson, Daniel, 2001. "Neighborhood Dynamics," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 1-31, January.
  20. Bond, Eric W. & Coulson, N. Edward, 1989. "Externalities, filtering, and neighborhood change," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 231-249, September.
  21. Bradbury, Katharine L & Downs, Anthony & Small, Kenneth A, 1980. "Some Dynamics of Central City-Suburban Interactions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(2), pages 410-14, May.
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