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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, ...
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 ...
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 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 ...
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 ...
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 ...