Three Essays on Urban Economics: Wage Inequality, Urban Sprawl, and Labor Productivity
The second essay examines the extent of urban sprawl with respect to the volatility of local economies. Specifically, it investigates how uncertainty over future land rents explains changes in the extent of urban sprawl. To theoretically study this relationship, I develop a theoretical model that links sprawl to shocks to changes in land development rent, among other factors. The econometric analysis draws upon panel data from U.S. metropolitan areas over the 1980-2000 censuses. To measure urban sprawl, I construct a distinctive measure that better captures the distribution of population density within metropolitan areas. Using suitable proxy that accounts for uncertainty over future land rents, I provide robust evidence confirming the theoretical prediction. That is, metropolitan areas with higher levels of uncertainty have a lower level of sprawl.
Finally, the third essay uses theories from urban production economics to empirically investigate the relationship between the economic performance of U.S. metropolitan areas and their respective amounts of sprawl. Specifically, this essay provides a comprehensive empirical analysis on the impact of urban sprawl on labor productivity. The main finding suggests that higher levels of urban sprawl are negatively associated with average labor productivity. Interestingly, this negative association is even stronger in smaller metropolitan areas. Still, there is evidence that the significance of the negative impact of sprawl is not homogenous across major industries.
School:University of Saskatchewan
School Location:Canada - Saskatchewan
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:wage inequality urban sprawl and labor productivity
Date of Publication:10/29/2008