Beautiful City: Leisure Amenities and Urban Growth
Modern urban economic theory and policymakers are coming to see the provision of consumer-leisure amenities as a way to attract population, especially the highly skilled and their employers. However, past studies have arguably only provided indirect evidence of the importance of leisure amenities for urban development. In this paper, we propose and validate the number of tourist trips and the number of crowdsourced picturesque locations as measures of consumer revealed preferences for local lifestyle amenities. Urban population growth in the 1990-2010 period was about 10 percentage points ...
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, ...
Understanding Patterns in U.S. Regional Economic Growth
An analysis examines how differences in productivity growth and shifting preferences for amenities generate regional variations in U.S. economic growth.
Individual Social Capital and Migration
This paper determines how individual, relative to community, social capital affects individual migration decisions. We make use of nonpublic data from the Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey to predict multidimensional social capital for observations in the Current Population Survey. We find evidence that individuals are much less likely to have moved to a community with average social capital levels lower than their own and that higher levels of community social capital act as positive pull-factor amenities. The importance of that amenity differs across urban/rural locations. We also ...
Supply Shock Versus Demand Shock: The Local Effects of New Housing in Low-Income Areas
We study the local effects of new market-rate housing in low-income areas using microdata on large apartment buildings, rents, and migration. New buildings decrease nearby rents by 5 to 7 percent relative to locations slightly farther away or developed later, and they increase in-migration from low-income areas. Results are driven by a large supply effect—we show that new buildings absorb many high-income households—that overwhelms any offsetting endogenous amenity effect. The latter may be small because most new buildings go into already-changing areas. Contrary to common concerns, new ...
The Rising Value of Time and the Origin of Urban Gentrification
In recent decades, gentrification has transformed American central city neighborhoods. I estimate a spatial equilibrium model to show that the rising value of high-skilled workers? time contributes to the gentrification of American central cities. I show that the increasing value of time raises the cost of commuting and exogenously increases the demand for central locations by high-skilled workers. While change in the value of time has a modest direct effect on gentrification of central cities, the effect is substantially magnified by endogenous amenity improvement driven by the changes in ...
The Gender Pay Gap: Micro Sources and Macro Consequences
Using linked employer-employee data from Brazil, we document a large gender pay gap due to women working at lower-paying employers with better amenities. To interpret these facts, we develop an equilibrium search model with endogenous firm pay, amenities, and employment. We provide a constructive proof of identification of all model parameters. The estimated model suggests that amenities are important for men and women, that compensating differentials explain half of the gender pay gap, and that there are significant output and welfare gains from eliminating gender differences. However, ...
Freeway Revolts! The Quality of Life Effects of Highways
Why do freeways affect spatial structure? We identify and quantify the local disamenity effects of freeways. Freeways cause slower growth in central neighborhoods (where local disamenities exceed regional accessibility benefits) compared with outlying neighborhoods (where access benefits exceed disamenities). A quantitative model calibrated to Chicago attributes one-third of the effect of freeways on central-city decline to reduced quality of life. Barrier effects are a major factor in the disamenity value of a freeway. Local disamenities from freeways, as opposed to their regional ...
The Push of Big City Prices and the Pull of Small Town Amenities
As house prices continue to rise in large, supply-constrained cities, what are the implications for other places that have room to grow? Recent literature suggests that amenities that improve quality of life are becoming increasingly important in location decisions. In this paper, we explore how location amenities have differentially driven population and price dynamics in small towns versus big cities, with a focus on the role of housing supply. We provide theory and evidence that demand for high-amenity locations has increased in recent decades. High-amenity counties in large metropolitan ...
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 ...