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Urban Population and Amenities

  • David Albouy
  • Bryan Stuart
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    We use a neoclassical general-equilibrium model to explain cross-metro variation in population density based on three broad amenity types: quality of life, productivity in tradables, and productivity in non-tradables. Analytically, we demonstrate the dependence of quantities on amenities through substitution possibilities in consumption and production. Our model clarifies the nature of commonly estimated elasticities of local labor supply and demand. From only differences in wages and housing costs, we explain half of the observed variation in density, especially through quality of life. We show that density information can provide or refine measures of land value and local productivity.

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    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19919.

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    Date of creation: Feb 2014
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    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19919
    Note: EEE LS PE
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    1. Che‐Lin Su & Kenneth L. Judd, 2012. "Constrained Optimization Approaches to Estimation of Structural Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 80(5), pages 2213-2230, 09.
    2. Edward L. Glaeser & Joseph Gyourko, 2005. "Urban Decline and Durable Housing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(2), pages 345-375, April.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. David Albouy & Gabriel Ehrlich, 2012. "Metropolitan Land Values and Housing Productivity," NBER Working Papers 18110, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Kenneth Y. Chay & Michael Greenstone, 2005. "Does Air Quality Matter? Evidence from the Housing Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(2), pages 376-424, April.
    7. Jesse M. Shapiro, 2005. "Smart Cities: Quality of Life, Productivity, and the Growth Effects of Human Capital," NBER Working Papers 11615, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Albert Saiz, 2010. "The Geographic Determinants of Housing Supply," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 125(3), pages 1253-1296, August.
    9. David Card, 1996. "Immigrant Inflows, Native Outflows, and the Local Labor Market Impacts of Higher Immigration," Working Papers 747, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
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    11. Jaffe, Adam B & Trajtenberg, Manuel & Henderson, Rebecca, 1993. "Geographic Localization of Knowledge Spillovers as Evidenced by Patent Citations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(3), pages 577-98, August.
    12. Matias Busso & Jesse Gregory & Patrick Kline, 2013. "Assessing the Incidence and Efficiency of a Prominent Place Based Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(2), pages 897-947, April.
    13. Gabriel M. Ahlfeldt & Stephen J. Redding & Daniel Sturm & Nikolaus Wolf, 2012. "The economics of density: evidence from the Berlin wall," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 58600, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    14. Gerke Hoogstra & Jouke Van Dijk & Raymond J.G.M. Florax, 2005. "Do jobs follow people or people follow jobs? A meta-analysis of Carlino-Mills studies," ERSA conference papers ersa05p737, European Regional Science Association.
    15. McDonald, John F., 1981. "Capital-land substitution in urban housing: A survey of empirical estimates," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 190-211, March.
    16. Thorsnes, Paul, 1997. "Consistent Estimates of the Elasticity of Substitution between Land and Non-Land Inputs in the Production of Housing," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 98-108, July.
    17. Daniel Feenberg & Elisabeth Coutts, 1993. "An introduction to the TAXSIM model," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(1), pages 189-194.
    18. 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.
    19. Sanghoon Lee & Qiang Li, 2010. "Uneven landscapes and the city size distribution," Working Papers 2010/41, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    20. Pierre-Philippe Combes & Gilles Duranton & Laurent Gobillon, 2013. "The Costs of Agglomeration: Land Prices in French Cities," PSE Working Papers halshs-00849078, HAL.
    21. Rosenthal, Stuart S. & Strange, William C., 2004. "Evidence on the nature and sources of agglomeration economies," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: J. V. Henderson & J. F. Thisse (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 49, pages 2119-2171 Elsevier.
    22. Bartel, Ann P, 1989. "Where Do the New U.S. Immigrants Live?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 7(4), pages 371-91, October.
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