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Urban Population and Amenities: The Neoclassical Model of Location

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  • David Albouy
  • Bryan Stuart

Abstract

We analyze a neoclassical general-equilibrium model to explain cross-metro variation in population, density, and land supply based on three amenity types: quality-of-life, productivity in tradables, and productivity in non-tradables. We develop a new method to estimate elasticities of housing and land supply, and local-productivity estimates, from cross-sectional density and land-area data. From wage and housing-cost indices, the model explains half of U.S. density and total population variation, and finds that quality of life determines locations more than employment opportunities. We show how changing quality of life, relaxing land-use regulations, or neutralizing federal taxes can redistribute populations massively.

Suggested Citation

  • David Albouy & Bryan Stuart, 2014. "Urban Population and Amenities: The Neoclassical Model of Location," NBER Working Papers 19919, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19919
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    Cited by:

    1. Lenzi, Camilla, 2016. "Co-invention networks and inventive productivity in US citiesAuthor-Name: Breschi, Stefano," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 66-75.
    2. Zambiasi, Diego & Stillman, Steven, 2018. "The Pot Rush: Is Legalized Marijuana a Positive Local Amenity?," IZA Discussion Papers 11392, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    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. Gabriel M. Ahfeldt & Elisabetta Pietrostefani, 2017. "The Compact City in Empirical Research: A Quantitative Literature Review," SERC Discussion Papers 0215, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
    5. repec:eee:moneco:v:93:y:2018:i:c:p:89-109 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Ahfeldt, Gabriel M. & Pietrostefani, Elisabetta, 2017. "The compact city in empirical research: A quantitative literature review," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 83638, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    7. Bryan Stuart, 2017. "The Long-Run Effects of Recessions on Education and Income," Working Papers 2017-25, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy.
    8. Florida, Richard & Mellander, Charlotta, 2017. "Innovation, Skill, and Economic Segregation," Working Paper Series in Economics and Institutions of Innovation 456, Royal Institute of Technology, CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies.
    9. repec:kap:itaxpf:v:24:y:2017:i:5:d:10.1007_s10797-016-9430-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. 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.
    11. 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.
    12. Herkenhoff, Kyle F. & Ohanian, Lee E. & Prescott, Edward C., 2018. "Tarnishing the golden and empire states: Land-use restrictions and the U.S. economic slowdown," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 89-109.
    13. David Albouy & Gabriel Ehrlich & Yingyi Liu, 2016. "Housing Demand, Cost-of-Living Inequality, and the Affordability Crisis," NBER Working Papers 22816, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population
    • 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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