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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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    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.
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    3. Edward L. Glaeser & Janet E. Kohlhase, 2004. "Cities, regions and the decline of transport costs," Advances in Spatial Science, in: Raymond J. G. M. Florax & David A. Plane (ed.), Fifty Years of Regional Science, pages 197-228, Springer.
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    5. 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.
    6. Chinitz, Benjamin, 1986. "The Regional Transformation of the American Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(2), pages 300-303, May.
    7. Benjamin Chinitz, 1986. "The Regional Transformation of the American Economy," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 23(5), pages 377-385, October.
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    Cited by:

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    2. David A. McGranahan & Timothy R. Wojan & Dayton M. Lambert, 2011. "The rural growth trifecta: outdoor amenities, creative class and entrepreneurial context -super-§," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(3), pages 529-557, May.
    3. Enrico Moretti, 2013. "Real Wage Inequality," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 65-103, January.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. Yasuyuki Motoyama & Sameeksha Desai, 2022. "Stickiness of entrepreneurs: an exploratory study of migration in two mid-sized US cities," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 58(4), pages 2139-2155, April.
    7. Roberto Roca Paz & Silke Uebelmesser, 2021. "Risk attitudes and migration decisions," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 649-684, June.
    8. Weiß, Dominik, 2008. "Mietpreise und Lebensqualität: Ist das Wohnen in Ostdeutschland wirklich günstig?," IWH Discussion Papers 12/2008, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    9. Benjamin Austin & Edward Glaeser & Lawrence Summers, 2018. "Jobs for the Heartland: Place-Based Policies in 21st-Century America," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 49(1 (Spring), pages 151-255.
    10. 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.
    11. Samuel ETTOUATI, 2018. "Les migrations résidentielles des retraités au sein de la région Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur," Region et Developpement, Region et Developpement, LEAD, Universite du Sud - Toulon Var, vol. 48, pages 71-84.
    12. Weiß, Dominik, 2010. "Kompensieren Mietpreisunterschiede ungleichwertige Lebensverhältnisse?," Arbeitsmaterial der ARL: Aufsätze, in: Rosenfeld, Martin T. W. & Weiß, Dominik (ed.), Gleichwertigkeit der Lebensverhältnisse zwischen Politik und Marktmechanismus: Empirische Befunde aus den Ländern Sachsen, Sachsen-Anhalt und Thüringe, volume 127, pages 71-95, ARL – Akademie für Raumentwicklung in der Leibniz-Gemeinschaft.
    13. Arntz, Melanie & Brüll, Eduard & Lipowski, Cäcilia, 2021. "Do preferences for urban amenities really differ by skill?," ZEW Discussion Papers 21-045, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    14. Janice Boucher Breuer & William Hauk Jr. & John McDermott, 2014. "The return of convergence in the US states," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(1), pages 64-68, January.
    15. Mack, Elizabeth A. & Wentz, Elizabeth, 2017. "Industry variations in the broadband business nexus," Socio-Economic Planning Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 51-62.
    16. Ng, Adolf K.Y. & Jiang, Changmin & Li, Xiaoyu & O'Connor, Kevin & Lee, Paul Tae-Woo, 2018. "A conceptual overview on government initiatives and the transformation of transport and regional systems," Journal of Transport Geography, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 199-203.
    17. Bode, Eckhardt & Mutl, Jan, 2010. "Testing Nonlinear New Economic Geography Models," Kiel Working Papers 1605, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW Kiel).

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    • A1 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics

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