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Suburbanization and the Automobile

Listed author(s):
  • Ming Hong Suen
  • Karen Kopecky

In 1910 the average American city was a small and densely populated place where the dominant form of intracity transportation was the electric streetcar. Despite the release of the Model T in 1908, less than one percent of Americans owned a car. In contrast, by 1970, almost every family in the US owned at least one automobile. Not only did city size grow between 1910 and 1970, but city population became more evenly spread around the city center: suburbanization. Can the adoption of the automobile account for the decentralization observed throughout US cities during this period? A model of a linear city is developed in which agents choose both whether or not to own a car, and where to live. The model?s steady state is calibrated and estimated to the US data. Declining automobile prices are used to account for increased automobile ownership and suburbanization. The model is able to match the data on car ownership and decentralization for the period 1910 to 1970

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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2004 Meeting Papers with number 134.

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Date of creation: 2004
Handle: RePEc:red:sed004:134
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Society for Economic Dynamics Marina Azzimonti Department of Economics Stonybrook University 10 Nicolls Road Stonybrook NY 11790 USA

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  1. Studies on the automobile industry

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