American Economic Review: Vol. 102 No. 3 (May 2012)


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Housing Booms and City Centers

Article Citation

Glaeser, Edward L., Joshua D. Gottlieb, and Kristina Tobio. 2012. "Housing Booms and City Centers." American Economic Review, 102(3): 127-33.

DOI: 10.1257/aer.102.3.127


Popular discussions often treat the great housing boom of the 1996-2006 period as if it were a national phenomenon with similar impacts across locales, but across metropolitan areas, price growth was dramatically higher in warmer, less educated cities with less initial density and higher initial housing values. Within metropolitan areas, price growth was faster in neighborhoods closer to the city center. The centralization of price growth during the boom was particularly dramatic in those metropolitan areas where income is higher away from the city center. We consider a number of different explanations for this connection, and find that the connection between centralized price growth and decentralized income seems to be most explained by the faster price growth in central cities that use relatively more public transit.

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Glaeser, Edward L. (Littauer Center, Harvard U)
Gottlieb, Joshua D. (Littauer Center, Harvard U)
Tobio, Kristina (Taubman Center, Harvard U)

JEL Classifications

R11: Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes
R21: Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Economics: Housing Demand
R31: Housing Supply and Markets

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