IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Optimal City Structure


  • Costas Arkolakis

    (Yale University)


In this paper, we develop a quantitative general equilibrium model of a city that incorporates the many economic interactions that occur over the space of the city, including commuting, trade, and productive interactions. We show that despite the many spatial linkages, in the absence of externalities the competitive equilibrium is efficient; conversely, in the presence of spillovers, there exists opportunities for a city planner to increase the welfare of the city inhabitants by restricting the use of land (“zoning†). We provide sufficient conditions for the optimal zoning policy that depend solely on observables and several key model parameters. Finally, we illustrate the flexibility of the model by applying it to study the observed zoning policy of the city of Chicago. Preliminary results suggest that the welfare of Chicago residents would increase if more area was allocated to residential usage in the central business district and more area was allocated to businesses in the outlying neighborhoods.

Suggested Citation

  • Costas Arkolakis, 2016. "Optimal City Structure," 2016 Meeting Papers 301, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed016:301

    Download full text from publisher

    To our knowledge, this item is not available for download. To find whether it is available, there are three options:
    1. Check below whether another version of this item is available online.
    2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
    3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Monte, Ferdinando & Redding, Stephen J. & Rossi-Hansberg, Esteban, 2015. "Commuting, Migration and Local Employment Elasticities," CEPR Discussion Papers 10933, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:red:sed016:301. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Christian Zimmermann). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.