Changes in urban forms and development patterns are crucial to understanding the role of cities as engines of growth. Urban sprawl is usually defined as the spreading of a city and its suburbs over rural land at the fringe of an urban area. Urban planners emphasize the qualitative aspects of sprawl such as the lack of transportation options and pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods. Conservationists tend to focus on the actual amount of land that has been urbanized by sprawl.Although urban sprawl has been extensively studied in the United States (see, for example, Brueckner 2000, 2001; Glaeser and Kahn 2001, 2004; Nechyba and Walsh 2004), very few empirical studies have been undertaken in Europe. Basic reasons for this lack of research are the conceptual divergences in the U.S. and European geographical definitions of cities and the limitations in the availability of actual data for Europe.Urban sprawl is one of the most important types of land use changes currently affecting Europe. It increasingly creates major impacts on the environment (via surface sealing, emissions by transport, and ecosystem fragmentation), on the social structure of an area (by segregation, lifestyle changes, and neglect of urban centers), and on the economy (via distributed production, land prices, and issues of scale). It is therefore crucial to understand it better.
Japan experienced rapid urbanization after the World War II. This rapid urbanization does not appear to be a simple proportional increase of economic activities in all urban areas. Rather, the spatial distributions of industries and population within the 258 metro areas (cities) of Japan are quite skewed. Against this background, the authors' main interest is to ask whether these skewed spatial distributions of industries and population exhibit any clear relationship, or whether they might simply have happened by chance. But despite the strong empirical regularity of the Number-Average Size (NAS) Rule, there still remains the statistical question of whether such location patterns could simply have occurred by chance. The initial findings suggest that international comparisons of such regularities would perhaps be most meaningful by identifying self-contained economically comparable subregions for testing purposes. From a regional policy perspective, neither the existence nor the stability of NAS by itself allows specific conclusions to be drawn about this distribution.
This paper addresses an old and central question in urban economics: how does the spatial distribution of employment opportunities influence residential location? Answering this question is complicated by the fundamental simultaneity of the location decisions of workers and firms. The authors adopt a novel approach to disentangling the causal relationship between the location of employment and population. Their goal is to estimate the impact of employment location on residential location. An ideal experiment for this purpose would randomly allocate the location of a given industry to either the center or the periphery of metropolitan areas and observe where workers in that industry might choose to live. Their analysis establishes an empirical relationship between an individual's place of work and place of residence. Unless cities remain productive in the sense of job creation, providing employment opportunities in the urban core, the draw of a shorter suburban commute will prevent an entirely consumption-led urban revival.
Policymakers in developed as well as developing countries struggle in making choices between the market solution of promoting out-migration and the intervention option of promoting economic growth in specific regions. In this paper, the authors focus on one aspect of the territorial integration challenge the migration of labor from lagging to leading regions within countries. In particular, they are interested in understanding migration decisions in Brazil a large developing country with no formal barriers to labor mobility. Their analysis confirms the importance of public service differentials in influencing long-run migration decisions. Results show that people have been leaving lagging regions in search of better economic opportunities particularly in the Southeast. Policies should encourage this mobility of labor, and the best way is to help in improving human capital accumulation in lagging regions. Improving access to public services in lagging regions should be a high priority.
Changes in urban forms and development patterns are crucial to understanding the role of cities as engines of growth. Urban sprawl is usually defined as the spreading of a city and its suburbs over rural land at the fringe of an urban area. Urban planners emphasize the qualitative aspects of sprawl such as the lack of transportation options and pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods. The authors first discuss the differences between the US and European geographical definitions of cities, highlighting the conceptual divergences and limitations in the availability of data for Europe. Next, they review the main theoretical mechanisms that cause urban sprawl, for the US and for Europe. Then they present some descriptive evidence on urban growth and decline in Europe. Their evidence suggests that as soon as people are affluent enough to be able to chose where they wanted to live and which transport mode they desire, they tend to live further away from the city centers.
In models of endogenous growth, knowledge, rather than tangible assets, plays a central role in the economic growth of nations. In this paper, the authors extend their analysis in a number of important dimensions. First, they introduce a measure of the quality of local inventions the number of citations a patent receives in patents obtained by subsequent inventors. Second, they decompose their data on local academic R&D in a number of important dimensions, including the sources of R&D funding, R&D performed in different fields of science, and the mix of basic and applied R&D that is funded. Although measuring the effect of patenting on local growth was not the main purpose of the paper, the results do suggest that more patents obtained by local inventors are associated with more local job growth. The most significant policy lever policymakers at any level of government should consider are ones that influence the accumulation of human capital.
The subprime lending boom increased the ability of many Americans to get credit to purchase a house. Yet concerns persist that not all borrowers have been treated equally. Recent studies of consumer loans have amplified concerns that minorities still face disparate treatment when applying for credit. Despite the size of the mortgage market, as well as previous evidence on racial and ethnic differences in access to lending for housing, there are no recent studies that the authors have found on mortgage rates for minority borrowers. They examine mortgage rates charged to a group of subprime mortgage borrowers using an innovative new dataset created by merging information on the race, ethnicity, and gender of mortgage borrowers with mortgage pricing and risk variables reported by Loan Performance. Results suggest the possibility that subprime lending did serve as a positive supply shock for credit in locations with higher unemployment rates and minority residents.
Geographic dispersion in housing market outcomes does not necessarily imply that nationwide shocks have no effect on local housing markets. In order to assess the relative importance of national and local factors, this paper examines the contribution of national and local shocks to annual changes in metropolitan area housing stocks and house prices from 1981 to 2006. The analysis establishes several stylized facts that describe the evolution of housing markets over the past 25 years. First, metropolitan area fixed effects explain a large fraction of the variation in annual changes in the housing stock, but they are not important for annual changes in house prices. Second, the component of construction and changes in house prices that is common across all locations is small. A third important empirical regularity is that metropolitan areas with similar characteristics in 1980 experienced similar fluctuations in construction and house prices during the subsequent 25 years.