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No price like home: global house prices, 1870-2012
How have house prices evolved in the long-run? This paper presents annual house price indices for 14 advanced economies since 1870. Based on extensive data collection, we are able to show for the first time that house prices in most industrial economies stayed constant in real terms from the 19th to the mid-20th century, but rose sharply in recent decades. Land prices, not construction costs, hold the key to understanding the trajectory of house prices in the long-run. Residential land prices have surged in the second half of the 20th century, but did not increase meaningfully before. We ...
Indivisibilities in Distribution
This paper develops and estimates a model of indivisibilities in shipping and economies of scale in consolidation. It uses highly detailed data on imports where it is possible to observe the contents of individual containers. In the model, ?rms are able to adapt to indivisibility constraints by using consolidation strategies and by making adjustments to shipment size. The ?rm determines the optimal number of domestic ports to use, taking into account that adding more ports lowers inland freight cost, at the expense of a higher indivisibility cost. The estimated model is able to roughly ...
Distance and Decline: The Case of Petersburg, Virginia
Petersburg, Virginia, prospered over two centuries as a center of production and trade. However, the city experienced economic difficulties beginning in the 1980s as a large number of layoffs at production plants in the area coincided with an erosion of retail trade in the city. Prolonged economic decline followed. In contrast, somewhat similar shocks in other moderate-sized cities in Virginia were followed by gradual economic recovery. We examine these differing outcomes and offer an explanation that hinges on the proximity of Petersburg to its larger neighbor, the greater Richmond area. We ...
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 ...
Commuting, Labor, and Housing Market Effects of Mass Transportation: Welfare and Identification
REVISED MARCH 2019 This paper studies the effects of Los Angeles Metro Rail on the spatial distribution of people and prices. Using a panel of bilateral commuting flows, I estimate a quantitative spatial general equilibrium model to quantify the welfare benefits of urban rail transit and distinguish the benefits of reduced commuting frictions from other channels. The subway causes a 7%-13% increase in commuting between pairs of connected tracts; I select plausible control pairs using proposed subway and historical streetcar lines to identify this effect. The structural parameters of the model ...