The supply and demand of skilled workers in cities and the role of industry composition
The share of high-skilled workers in U.S. cities is positively correlated with city size, and this correlation strengthened between 1980 and 2010. Furthermore, during the same time period, the U.S. economy experienced a significant structural transformation with regard to industrial composition, most notably in the decline of manufacturing and the rise of high-skilled service industries. To decompose and investigate these trends, this paper develops and estimates a spatial equilibrium model with heterogeneous firms and workers that allows for both industry-specific and skill-specific ...
Not in My Backyard? Not So Fast. The Effect of Marijuana Legalization on Neighborhood Crime
This paper studies the effects of marijuana legalization on neighborhood crime using unique geospatial data from Denver, Colorado. We construct a highly local panel data set that includes changes in the location of marijuana dispensaries and changes in neighborhood crime. To account for endogenous retail dispensary locations, we use a novel identification strategy that exploits exogenous changes in demand across different locations. The change in geographic demand arises from the increased importance of access to external markets caused by a change in state and local policy. The results imply ...
Estimating a dynamic equilibrium model of firm location choices in an urban economy
We develop a new dynamic general equilibrium model to explain firm entry, exit, and relocation decisions in an urban economy with multiple locations and agglomeration externalities. We characterize the stationary distribution of firms that arises in equilibrium. We estimate the parameters of the model using a method of moments estimator. Using unique panel data collected by Dun and Bradstreet, we find that our model fits the moments used in estimation as well as a set of moments that we use for model validation. Agglomeration externalities increase the productivity of firms by about 8 ...
Freeway revolts were widespread protests across the U.S. following early urban Interstate construction in the mid-1950s. We present theory and evidence from panel data on neighborhoods and travel behavior to show that diminished quality of life from freeway disamenities inspired the revolts, a?ected the allocation of freeways within cities, and changed city structure. First, actual freeway construction diverged from initial plans in the wake of the growing freeway revolts and subsequent policy responses, especially in central neighborhoods. Second, freeways caused slower growth in population, ...
Congestion, agglomeration, and the structure of cities
Superseded by Working Paper 16-13. Congestion pricing has long been held up by economists as a panacea for the problems associated with ever increasing traffic congestion in urban areas. In addition, the concept has gained traction as a viable solution among planners, policymakers, and the general public. While congestion costs in urban areas are significant and clearly represent a negative externality, economists also recognize the advantages of density in the form of positive agglomeration externalities. The long-run equilibrium outcomes in economies with multiple correlated, but ...
The Political Economy of Underfunded Municipal Pension
This paper analyzes the determinants of underfunding of local government?s pension funds using a politico-economic overlapping generations model. We show that a binding down payment constraint in the housing market dampens capitalization of future taxes into current land prices. Thus, a local government?s pension funding policy matters for land prices and the utility of young households. Underfunding arises in equilibrium if the pension funding policy is set by the old generation. Young households instead favor a policy of full funding. Empirical results based on cross-city comparisons in the ...
Congestion, Agglomeration, and the Structure of Cities
Supersede WP 13-25. Congestion costs in urban areas are significant and clearly represent a negative externality. Nonetheless, economists also recognize the production advantages of urban density in the form of positive agglomeration externalities. The long-run equilibrium outcomes in economies with multiple correlated but o setting externalities have yet to be fully explored in the literature. Therefore, I develop a spatial equilibrium model of urban structure that includes both congestion costs and agglomeration externalities. I then estimate the structural parameters of the model using a ...
Making Sense of Urban Patterns
Why do cities everywhere exhibit the same general patterns of density and development? And how can we explain some striking variations? The streets of Philadelphia roll west through a collage of urban environments familiar to city dwellers nearly everywhere. From Penn Square, the central site of the iconic stone City Hall, Market Street traverses a canyon of concrete and glass office buildings that gradually give way to commercial and apartment structures and mixed uses. A mile from City Hall, the busy thoroughfare crosses the Schuylkill River, and density again picks up as the University of ...
Location dynamics: a key consideration for urban policy
What determines where businesses and households locate? Location decisions can affect the economic health of cities and metropolitan areas. But as Jeffrey Brinkman explains, how firms, residents, and workers go about choosing where to locate can involve complex interactions with sometimes unpredictable consequences.
Big cities and the highly educated: what's the connection
Why are more college-educated workers gravitating to large metropolitan areas? As Jeffrey Brinkman explains, amenities are increasingly important in people?s location decisions, a trend that may help inform urban policymaking.