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Urban Decline and Durable Housing

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  • Edward L. Glaeser
  • Joseph Gyourko

Abstract

People continue to live in many big American cities, because in those cities housing costs less than new construction. While cities may lose their productive edge, their houses remain and population falls only when housing depreciates. This paper presents a simple durable housing model of urban decline with several implications which document: (1) urban growth rates are leptokurtotic -- cities grow more quickly than they decline, (2) city growth rates are highly persistent, especially amount declining cities, (3) positive shocks increase population more than they increase housing prices, (4) negative shocks decrease housing prices more than they decrease population, (5) the relationship between changes in housing prices and changes in population is strongly concave, and (7) declining cities attract individuals with low levels of human capital.

Suggested Citation

  • Edward L. Glaeser & Joseph Gyourko, 2001. "Urban Decline and Durable Housing," NBER Working Papers 8598, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8598
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    1. Eaton, Jonathan & Eckstein, Zvi, 1997. "Cities and growth: Theory and evidence from France and Japan," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(4-5), pages 443-474, August.
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    3. Krugman, Paul, 1991. "History and Industry Location: The Case of the Manufacturing Belt," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 80-83, May.
    4. Edward L. Glaeser & Matthew E. Kahn & Jordan Rappaport, 2000. "Why Do The Poor Live In Cities?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1891, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    5. 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.
    6. Robert M. Solow, 1973. "Congestion Cost and the Use of Land for Streets," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 4(2), pages 602-618, Autumn.
    7. Paul Gompers & Joy Ishii & Andrew Metrick, 2003. "Corporate Governance and Equity Prices," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(1), pages 107-156.
    8. Goodman, John Jr. & Ittner, John B., 1992. "The accuracy of home owners' estimates of house value," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(4), pages 339-357, December.
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    10. Krugman, Paul, 1991. "Increasing Returns and Economic Geography," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(3), pages 483-499, June.
    11. Julie Berry Cullen & Steven D. Levitt, 1999. "Crime, Urban Flight, And The Consequences For Cities," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(2), pages 159-169, May.
    12. Glaeser, Edward L. & Scheinkman, JoseA. & Shleifer, Andrei, 1995. "Economic growth in a cross-section of cities," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 117-143, August.
    13. Wheaton, William C., 1982. "Urban spatial development with durable but replaceable capital," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(1), pages 53-67, July.
    14. Avinash K. Dixit & Robert S. Pindyck, 1994. "Investment under Uncertainty," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 5474.
    15. Edward L Glaeser & Jesse M Shapiro, 2003. "Urban Growth in the 1990s: Is City Living Back?," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(1), pages 139-165.
    16. Blomquist, Glenn C & Berger, Mark C & Hoehn, John P, 1988. "New Estimates of Quality of Life in Urban Areas," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(1), pages 89-107, March.
    17. Braid, Ralph M., 1988. "Uniform spatial growth with perfect foresight and durable housing," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 41-59, January.
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    JEL classification:

    • R - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics

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