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Does urban sprawl increase the costs of providing local public services? Evidence from Spanish municipalities

Author

Listed:
  • Albert Solé-Ollé

    () (IEB, Universitat de Barcelona.)

  • Miriam Hortas-Rico

    () (IEB, Universitat de Barcelona.)

Abstract

This paper examines the impact of urban sprawl, a phenomenon of particular interest in Spain, which is currently experiencing this process of rapid, low-density urban expansion. Many adverse consequences are attributed to urban sprawl (e.g., traffic congestion, air pollution and social segregation), though here we are concerned primarily with the rising costs of providing local public services. Our initial aim is to develop an accurate measure of urban sprawl so that we might empirically test its impact on municipal budgets. Then, we undertake an empirical analysis using a cross-sectional data set of 2,500 Spanish municipalities for the year 2003 and a piecewise linear function to account for the potentially nonlinear relationship between sprawl and local costs. The estimations derived from the expenditure equations for both aggregate and six disaggregated spending categories indicate that low-density development patterns lead to greater provision costs of local public services.

Suggested Citation

  • Albert Solé-Ollé & Miriam Hortas-Rico, 2008. "Does urban sprawl increase the costs of providing local public services? Evidence from Spanish municipalities," Working Papers XREAP2008-10, Xarxa de Referència en Economia Aplicada (XREAP), revised Nov 2008.
  • Handle: RePEc:xrp:wpaper:xreap2008-10
    as

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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Bergstrom, Theodore C & Goodman, Robert P, 1973. "Private Demands for Public Goods," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 63(3), pages 280-296, June.
    2. Ladd, Helen F., 1994. "Fiscal impacts of local population growth: A conceptual and empirical analysis," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(6), pages 661-686, December.
    3. Song, Yan & Zenou, Yves, 2006. "Property tax and urban sprawl: Theory and implications for US cities," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(3), pages 519-534, November.
    4. Glaeser, Edward L. & Kahn, Matthew E., 2004. "Sprawl and urban growth," 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 56, pages 2481-2527 Elsevier.
    5. John I. Carruthers, 2002. "Fragmentation and Sprawl: Evidence from Interregional Analysis," Growth and Change, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(3), pages 312-340.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Urban sprawl; local public spending.;

    JEL classification:

    • H1 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H72 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Budget and Expenditures
    • R51 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - Finance in Urban and Rural Economies

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