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The Rise of the Sunbelt

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  • Edward L. Glaeser
  • Kristina Tobio

Abstract

In the last 50 years, population and incomes have increased steadily throughout much of the Sunbelt. This paper assesses the relative contributions of rising productivity, rising demand for Southern amenities and increases in housing supply to the growth of warm areas, using data on income, housing price and population growth. Before 1980, economic productivity increased significantly in warmer areas and drove the population growth in those places. Since 1980, productivity growth has been more modest, but housing supply growth has been enormous. We infer that new construction in warm regions represents a growth in supply, rather than demand, from the fact that prices are generally falling relative to the rest of the country. The relatively slow pace of housing price growth in the Sunbelt, relative to the rest of the country and relative to income growth, also implies that there has been no increase in the willingness to pay for sun-related amenities. As such, it seems that the growth of the Sunbelt has little to do with the sun.

Suggested Citation

  • Edward L. Glaeser & Kristina Tobio, 2007. "The Rise of the Sunbelt," NBER Working Papers 13071, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13071
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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w13071.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Besley, Timothy J. & Persson, Torsten & Sturm, Daniel M, 2005. "Political Competition and Economic Performance: Theory and Evidence from the United States," CEPR Discussion Papers 5138, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Wright, Gavin, 1987. "The Economic Revolution in the American South," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 161-178, Summer.
    3. Edward L. Glaeser & Joseph Gyourko & Raven E. Saks, 2006. "Urban growth and housing supply," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(1), pages 71-89, January.
    4. Benjamin Chinitz, 1986. "The Regional Transformation of the American Economy," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 23(5), pages 377-385, October.
    5. Mueser Peter R. & Graves Philip E., 1995. "Examining the Role of Economic Opportunity and Amenities in Explaining Population Redistribution," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 176-200, March.
    6. Chinitz, Benjamin, 1986. "The Regional Transformation of the American Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 300-303, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jonathan T. Rothwell & Douglas S. Massey, 2010. "Density Zoning and Class Segregation in U.S. Metropolitan Areas," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 91(s1), pages 1123-1143.
    2. David A. McGranahan & Timothy R. Wojan & Dayton M. Lambert, 2011. "The rural growth trifecta: outdoor amenities, creative class and entrepreneurial context -super-ยง," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(3), pages 529-557, May.
    3. Edward L. Glaeser & Joshua D. Gottlieb, 2009. "The Wealth of Cities: Agglomeration Economies and Spatial Equilibrium in the United States," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(4), pages 983-1028, December.
    4. David Albouy, 2008. "Are Big Cities Bad Places to Live? Estimating Quality of Life across Metropolitan Areas," NBER Working Papers 14472, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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    JEL classification:

    • A1 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics

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    1. Historical Economic Geography

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