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Quality of Life, Firm Productivity, and the Value of Amenities across Canadian Cities

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  • David Albouy
  • Fernando Leibovici
  • Casey Warman

Abstract

We present hedonic general-equilibrium estimates of quality-of-life and productivity differences across Canada's metropolitan areas. These are based off of the estimated willingness-to-pay of heterogeneous households and firms to locate in various cities, which differ in their wage levels, housing costs, and land values. Using 2006 Canadian Census data, our metropolitan quality-of-life estimates are somewhat consistent with popular rankings, but find Canadians care more about climate and culture. Quality-of-life is highest in Victoria for Anglophones, Montreal for Francophones, and Vancouver for Allophones, and lowest in more remote cities. Toronto is Canada's most productive city; Vancouver is the overall most valuable city.

Suggested Citation

  • David Albouy & Fernando Leibovici & Casey Warman, 2012. "Quality of Life, Firm Productivity, and the Value of Amenities across Canadian Cities," NBER Working Papers 18103, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18103 Note: LS PE
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gyourko, Joseph & Tracy, Joseph, 1991. "The Structure of Local Public Finance and the Quality of Life," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(4), pages 774-806, August.
    2. Jesse M. Shapiro, 2006. "Smart Cities: Quality of Life, Productivity, and the Growth Effects of Human Capital," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(2), pages 324-335, May.
    3. Serge Coulombe, 2000. "New Evidence of Convergence Across Canadian Provinces: The Role of Urbanization," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(8), pages 713-725.
    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.
    5. Beeson, Patricia E & Eberts, Randall W, 1989. "Identifying Productivity and Amenity Effects in Interurban Wage Differentials," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 71(3), pages 443-452, August.
    6. Beeson, Patricia E., 1991. "Amenities and regional differences in returns to worker characteristics," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 224-241, September.
    7. David Albouy, 2009. "What Are Cities Worth? Land Rents, Local Productivity, and the Capitalization of Amenity Values," NBER Working Papers 14981, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Serge Coulombe & Frank C. Lee, 1995. "Convergence across Canadian Provinces, 1961 to 1991," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 28(4a), pages 886-898, November.
    9. Casey Warman, 2007. "Ethnic enclaves and immigrant earnings growth," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 40(2), pages 401-422, May.
    10. Albouy, David, 2012. "Evaluating the efficiency and equity of federal fiscal equalization," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(9-10), pages 824-839.
    11. Chen, Yong & Rosenthal, Stuart S., 2008. "Local amenities and life-cycle migration: Do people move for jobs or fun?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(3), pages 519-537, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Combes, Pierre-Philippe & Gobillon, Laurent, 2015. "The Empirics of Agglomeration Economies," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, Elsevier.
    2. Albouy, David, 2012. "Evaluating the efficiency and equity of federal fiscal equalization," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(9-10), pages 824-839.
    3. Norbert Hiller & Oliver Lerbs, 2015. "The capitalization of non-market attributes into regional housing rents and wages: evidence on German functional labor market areas," Review of Regional Research: Jahrbuch für Regionalwissenschaft, Springer;Gesellschaft für Regionalforschung (GfR), vol. 35(1), pages 49-72, February.
    4. Huang, Daisy J. & Leung, Charles K. & Qu, Baozhi, 2015. "Do bank loans and local amenities explain Chinese urban house prices?," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 19-38.
    5. repec:kap:itaxpf:v:24:y:2017:i:5:d:10.1007_s10797-016-9430-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Antoine Bonleu, 2017. "Sun, Regulation and Local Social Networks," Working Papers halshs-01502604, HAL.
    7. Jørn Rattsø & Hildegunn E Stokke, 2015. "Handling amenities in income taxation: Analysis of tax distortions in a migration equilibrium model," Working Paper Series 16315, Department of Economics, Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
    8. Francesco Andreoli & Alessandra Michelangeli, 2014. "Welfare Measures to Assess Urban Quality of Life," Working Papers 278, University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Economics, revised Jun 2014.
    9. Jørn Rattsø & Hildegunn E. Stokke, 2017. "National income taxation and the geographic distribution of population," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 24(5), pages 879-902, September.
    10. Murray, Thomas & Maddison, David & Rehdanz, Katrin, 2011. "Do geographical variations in climate influence life satisfaction?," Kiel Working Papers 1694, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    11. Tabuchi, Takatoshi & Thisse, Jacques François & Zhu, Xiwei, 2016. "Does technological progress magnify regional disparities?," IDE Discussion Papers 599, Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization(JETRO).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • Q51 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Valuation of Environmental Effects
    • R1 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics

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